A leading telecom network in Africa has expanded its presence in the Smartphone segment with the launch of a new smart feature phone. The latest release by MTN is an affordable option that comes with multipurpose functionality and is likely to help the telecom provider maintain its dominance in the African Smartphone market.
The latest release is in line with the company’s plans to enter Africa’s mobile hardware market. As of now, there are no speculations whether or not the telecom provider will be able to dominate the space. The new smart feature phone will be made available in the markets of Nigeria and South Africa in Q1 2019. It is expected to carry a retail price of $20 to $25, according to a statement by MTN. The company will further launch the smart feature phone to 15 other African states where MTN operates.
For the development of the smart feature phone, MTN collaborated with China Mobile and Unisoc, China-based Tech Company. China Mobile created the hardware of the smart feature phone, while Unisoc created a faster 3G smart chipset. Unisoc has previously worked in Africa for a period of more than a decade. South Africa-based MobiCel is one of the companies Unisoc has previously collaborated.
The much talked smart feature phone may not equip advanced computing abilities of a Smartphone, however, it will have a specialized operating system that will support social media apps and standard email formats.
The operating system of the smart feature phone is supported by KaiOS technologies, a company with expertise in developing smartphone user experience. The California-headquartered KaiOS has witnessed rapid growth in the markets of India. MTN believes that KaiOS will help it develop localized apps and will help win international exposure.
The latest smart feature phone by MTN comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It also features Google assistance and easy access to social media apps. Long battery life and dual camera are again some of the features that would make it a popular phone in the area with electricity issues.
The features of the phone as shared by the company sound attractive. Accessible phones have been quite popular in the African market but feature phones with limited access to the internet are dominating the market primarily due to costing.
MTN has more than 225 million subscribers with the majority of them coming from Africa and some from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. It took MTN only 24 years to expand its horizon starting from South Africa. It is believed MTN will be able to establish a monopoly in the market with its own smart feature phone.
It seems like MTN is following the footsteps of Transsion, China-based firm that makes and sells most of the phones in the African market. The company over the time has been able to take over some of the largest players in the feature and Smartphone market across Africa by offering simple and affordable smart feature phones.