In depth interviews with low-income first-time mobile phone owners in Manila show that basic no-frills phones will meet the needs of some emerging market consumers, but others want more features — and will pay for them, according to the Strategy Analytics ( research firm

“Voices of the Next Billion: Mobile Adoption at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” a new report from the Strategy Analytics Emerging Markets Communications Strategies service (EMCS), introduces a set of consumers for whom the ultra low cost handset (ULCH) is not necessarily the only viable offering, despite limited spending power. With household incomes of $ 200 a month or less, these consumers fall well below the median for metropolitan Manila.

“They obviously do not have a lot of money to spare,” notes Tom Elliott, dDirector of EMCS and author of the study. “But if they want an international brand or a phone with a camera to take pictures of their children, they will find a way to get one.”

Buying second-hand phones or using informal installment payment plans are two reported ways to bring phone costs down to an acceptable level.

“Low income consumers in developing countries may not be good candidates for smartphones, but it would be a mistake to think that they are not prospects for ‘affordable luxury’ features like MP3 players and megapixel cameras,” according to Kevin Nolan, vice president of the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice, who advised on this research.