London - With a touchscreen display, internet connection and front and rear cameras, a new handset costing £26 (about R500) is set to take the mobile phone market by storm.

The Indian-made Karbonn A50S is a fraction of the cost of market leaders Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.

While the smartphone is officially available only to domestic customers in India, Britons can buy it online and have it sent over to the UK, where it can be used on most domestic networks with a pay-as-you-go sim card.

The Karbonn A50S shares many of the functions of handsets costing many times more and has the rare feature of two sim-card slots that enable the user to swap between networks and phone numbers.

As it runs on Android, the Google-owned operating system, it comes with Google services such as Gmail and maps.

Both Apple’s latest iPhone, the 5S, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 cost around £550. Even Motorola’s more basic Moto G smartphone costs £125.

The bargain Indian phone will lead British consumers to question why they pay hundreds of pounds for their phones and expensive contracts with network providers, when the raw components are so cheap.

“Ten years ago the technology was expensive, but that’s not the case any more,” said Ben Wood, of mobile phone research company CCS Insight.

“Android has been the great leveller because anyone can install it, while the hardware from places such as China is incredibly cheap and reliable.” - Daily Mail