Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

m-Services

Rival Smartphone Vendors Could Gain from Huawei's Pain in Africa

Article Image
Huawei is rapidly becoming one of the best known brands in the world, though maybe not for the reasons the company would like.

One of major reasons its name is even better know this week is the decision by Google, following an executive order by US President Trump, to exclude Huawei, now the second largest provider of mobile devices in the world (behind Samsung) from future Android updates, a move that would also remove access to major Android apps from Huawei smartphones. (See Google & Tech Giants Cut Huawei Adrift.)

This means that -- as long as the company is on the US entity list of restricted companies -- Huawei's future smartphone products will not have access to the Google Play Store. In addition, Google Services, such as Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Play Music and more – will no longer be pre-installed.

That's not only bad news for Huawei but also bad news for anyone thinking of buying a Huawei handset in the future: They will be wondering how the device will work and what apps they might be able to access.

That's the case in Africa, where Huawei has been established for some time and commands about 10% of the smartphone market. (See Africa's Smartphone Market Back in Growth Mode: IDC.)

Huawei, in a statement emailed to media, attempted to reassure the market that it "will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally… We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally."

Huawei has not commented on measures to take regarding any future products that it may ship to Africa.

Huawei could be waving goodbye to Android support from Google.
Huawei could be waving goodbye to Android support from Google.

The impact on the African market is likely to be considerable. While the Play Store is important, there are workarounds and plenty of other Android stores where users can source apps, including some run by mobile operators. However, losing YouTube is probably the biggest barrier to future Huawei phone buyers, as the video streaming app has such strong appeal. Workarounds can be difficult, as Google has been very strict with the authenticity of YouTube experience (various mock versions of YouTube apps for Windows Phone were taken down when Google refused to deliver its official version).

The good news is that, for African consumers, there are plenty of alternatives in the market if Huawei's smartphone business runs into difficulties. Samsung's mid-range A-series is an obvious one, but there are also plenty of second-tier Chinese vendors that have been active in the African market, in particular Transsion, trading under the Tecno, Itel and Infinix brands, has been quietly gaining market share. Xiaomi, Oppo and others have not made a big splash in the African markets yet, but may well look to fill the void left by Huawei if this should happen.

Another option for consumers is a smart feature phone, like those built on the Kai OS platform, which come with preinstalled apps, including YouTube, popular social networks and Google Assistant. (See KaiOS, MediaTek Collaborate on 3G/4G Smart Feature Phones.)

— Wei Shi, Site Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Safaricom launches M-Pesa 'super app'

Safaricom has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa 'super app' with new features like offline mode as well as mini-apps within the app.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Nigeria's Bankly

Nigerian startup Bankly is digitizing cash for people who work in the informal sector and helping unbanked Nigerians save money, invest and gain access to credit and other financial services.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: May 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about new licenses for operators in Ethiopia and Uganda, and Nigeria's 5G rollout plans.

Story

Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's telecoms licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

North Africa Com
July 13-14, 2021
Virtual Event
Asia Tech x Singapore
July 13-16, 2021
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Technologies and business models to connect the next billion

Nearly half the planet remains unconnected at a time when COVID-19 has forced people’s reliance on the Internet and digital technologies higher than ever before. Bridging the digital divide to provide Mobile Internet access – the main driver of digital inclusion – is exceedingly important in the current context. Overcoming this connectivity crisis represents a growth opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to expand their services outside of the crowded, highly competitive urban markets.

In this webinar we will focus on solutions that help MNOs close both the coverage gap and the usage gap.

Key topics include:

  • What are the barriers to overcome increased Mobile Internet adoption?
  • How to match deployments cost with expected revenue?
  • Operator success story

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up