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.

Digital Inclusion

MTN, KaiOS, China Mobile, UNISOC Unveil Smart Feature Phone

Article Image
CAPE TOWN -- Today, at the annual AfricaCom conference in Cape Town, the CEO of MTN Group, CEO of KaiOS Technologies Inc., Executive Vice President of China Mobile Communications Group Co., Ltd., and Executive Vice President of UNISOC announced a partnership to launch the world’s first 3G smart feature phone in Africa, powered by KaiOS.

The new product will allow customers to upgrade from a feature phone with only voice and text capabilities, to a fully connected handset with fast, 3G internet. Because of the competitive pricing of the device, access to advanced digital services is finally a reality for everyone.

Of the partnership, Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO of MTN, said, “As MTN we are proud to be part of this partnership that supports our ambitions to deepen digital inclusion in our markets. This initiative contributes to the achievement of one of our key goals to provide affordable data enabled handsets to our customers, and by so doing, remove some of the barriers to mobile internet adoption in Africa.”

The new smart feature phone is unveiled during a press conference held at AfricaCom 2018.
The new smart feature phone is unveiled during a press conference held at AfricaCom 2018.

The new smart feature phone runs on KaiOS — the world’s leading operating system for smart feature phones — and includes the following features and services:

  • Fast internet access through Wi-Fi and 3G

  • Bluetooth connectivity and GPS for navigation

  • The Google Assistant and other smart services

  • The KaiStore, home to the world’s most popular apps and localized content

  • 2 cameras, as well as music and video streaming services

  • Long battery life 2000mah

  • Dual SIM support

    “With 834 million people still unconnected to the internet in Africa, today’s launch with MTN, UNISOC and China Mobile stands to have a significant impact on communities across the continent,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “MTN has one of the largest customer bases in the region, and coupled with KaiOS, we’re taking an important step toward closing the digital divide on the continent.”

    KaiOS already powers close to 50 million smart feature phones globally, including in the USA, Canada, India, China, and several countries in Europe. It has overtaken iOS as the second most popular mobile operating system in India (based on data usage) and is at the forefront of connecting the next billion users by enabling devices that provide affordable mobile internet access.

    shortly by the other MTN operations in Africa as well as the Middle East. The new product will retail between $20-$25 , which is relatively affordable compared to the price of other devices across the African continent.

    Li Huidi, Executive Vice President of China Mobile Communications Group Co., Ltd, said, “As the largest Telecom Operator in China, we have made fruitful attempts at rapidly promoting business development through device customization. We hope to share our experiences in this regard with international operator partners, and help them expand market presence through device customization, thus delivering the dividend of reliable mobile networks to more users.”

    “As the largest operator in Africa, MTN Group has achieved excellent progress. China Mobile is very honoured to be MTN’s strategic and cooperative partner, and is willing to provide customized integrated device solutions to MTN. Jointly, we can provide intelligent connectivity for the multi-billion market in Africa, and help to promote the digitalization of the continent.”

    Through the efforts of all parties, this product will help convert African 2G users to 3G, allowing African people to enjoy high-speed mobile networks. The new smart feature phone is powered by the UNISOC SC7731EF, the first 3G smart chipset with up to 256MB RAM. The device has a 2.4’ screen, 256MB/512MB RAM/ROM, a 2000MAH battery, and supports dual SIM. It will be available starting from the first quarter of 2019.

    “UNISOC has been in the African market for over 10 years and every year more than 100 million mobile phones powered by UNISOC chips are sold in Africa.” said Adam Zeng, Executive Vice President of Unigroup and CEO of UNISOC., “UNISOC is glad to partner with MTN, China Mobile and KaiOS, and together we will continue to invest more to fill in the gaps in the mobile communications and IoT fields in African markets. With customized solutions and excellent services, we will create a rich and diversified mobile ecosystem for Africa that will enable more than 1 billion African consumers to connect intelligently.”

    ENDS

  • Innovation hub

    Story

    Hot startup of the month: South Africa's Zoie Health

    This month's hot startup is South African digital women's health clinic Zoie Health – a digital app that focuses on family planning, fertility and maternity care.

    Story

    Orange Côte d'Ivoire launches 5G lab in Abidjan

    Pan-African telecoms operator, Orange, has launched a 5G lab in Côte d'Ivoire in anticipation of its 5G network rollout in 2023.

    More Innovation hub

    Partner perspectives

    5G is lighting up the future of North Africa
    By Chris Meng, VP of Huawei Northern Africa Carrier Business Department

    The moving target that is telecoms fraud
    By Clémentine Fournier, Regional VP Sales, Africa, BICS

    How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
    By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

    All Partner Perspectives

    Africa Tech Perspectives

    Story

    Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

    Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.

    Story

    Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

    Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

    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.

    More AfricaCom perspectives

    Latest video

    More videos

    Industry announcements

    More Industry announcements

    Guest Perspectives

    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.

    Story

    Omdia View: June 2022

    By Omdia Analysts

    5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

    More Guest Perspectives

    Upcoming events

    Africa Tech Festival
    November 7-11, 2022
    CTICC, Cape Town
    More Upcoming events

    Archived webinars

    Africa Green ICT: Lighting Up a Sustainable Continent

    The ICT industry is the leading industry in the commitment to carbon neutrality, whose focus has shifted from setting ambitious targets to taking initiatives. The push for zero-carbon and for green energy development, it isn't just about CSR – it's also good for sustainable business.

    The path to sustainable development requires green energy. Governments are looking at potential policy approaches to make green energy more widely available and affordable. Without sustainable energy, there will be no digital transformation and no chance of making Africa more economically competitive in the post-pandemic era.

    Africa Green ICT Webinar 2022 will bring together ICT industry leaders and senior industrial analysts to provide insight, best practices and key learnings on how to achieve zero-carbon targets and practice green development in Africa.

    More Webinars

    Sponsored video

    More videos

    Flash poll

    All polls

    Like us on Facebook

    Newsletter Sign Up


    Sign Up