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.

Partner Perspectives (Sponsored Content)

Learning from India's Smart Feature Phone Revolution

Article Image
Figures from the GSMA revealed that in 2017 Eastern Africa had the world’s lowest smartphone adoption level at 25%, compared to the global average of more than 50%. The $100-$200 price for a smartphone is preventing 64% of the continent’s population from upgrading their 2G voice and text-capable phones to 3G/4G devices that can access the internet, and “market pressures alone will not bring down prices to a level that makes smartphones affordable for low-income groups in the near future.”

Rather than forcing people to choose between a feature phone without internet access, or a budget smartphone with a limited user experience, a different approach that has been successfully rolled out in India can provide inspiration.

In 2016, operator Reliance Jio launched the JioPhone, a smart feature phone that has all the essential capabilities of a smartphone but without the price tag. JioPhone users can access fast internet via Wi-Fi, 4G, and LTE, with Bluetooth and GPS networks also enabled. Users can make payments using NFC and access local and international apps in the JioStore. The device even comes with video capability. Besides device affordability, monthly costs for data are the other key consideration for users in India. With this in mind, Reliance Jio introduced a plan specifically for JioPhone customers. Its price is slightly more expensive than a voice+text-only plan, but a lot cheaper than a regular smartphone data plan.

The cheapest plan costs just US$0.75 per month which includes 1 gigabyte of data. For US$2.35, the user gets a whopping 42GB (1.5GB per day). This matches perfectly with research that shows the sweet spot for emerging markets lies around $2.5 per month.

The combination of an affordable device with a rich user experience plus a tailored data plan for smart feature phone users has proved to be an excellent way for people to get their first taste of the mobile internet. With an estimated 50 million JioPhone users connected by the end of this year, the Reliance Jio model is an inspirational case for all participants in the telecommunications industry on how we can bring the other half of the world’s population online. While every country is unique, it’s my hope that similar cases will emerge across Africa in the coming years through innovative partnerships between carriers, manufacturers, content providers, and other players in the mobile ecosystem.

— Sebastien Codeville, CEO, KaiOS Technologies

At AfricaCom 2018, KaiOS Technologies is a sponsor of the 20/20 Technology Forum and will be demonstrating its range of smart feature phones. For more information and to arrange a meeting at AfricaCom, email [email protected] and [email protected] for details.

Innovation hub

Video

Interview: Qualcomm execs on mentorship for African startups

Qualcomm Technology VP for Engineering, Sudeepto Roy, and Elizabeth Migwalla, VP for Government Affairs, join Connecting Africa for a video interview about Qualcomm's Make in Africa Mentorship Program.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Pan-African fintech KamaPay

This month's hot startup is pan-African fintech KamaPay, which helps individuals and businesses make cross-border payments on the continent.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

Story

Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.

Story

Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

London Tech Week
June 13-16, 2023
Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3EE
Cybertech Africa 2023
August 1-2, 2023
Kigali Convention Center, Kigali, Rwanda
Africa Tech Festival, Home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech
November 13-16, 2023
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: February 2023

By Omdia Analysts

In February 2023 key events in the Middle East and Africa included a major Internet project for Africa's underserved by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft as well as a 5G launch in Tanzania – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up