The first 3G Feature Smartphone aimed at giving a cheap option to the emerging market. This time costing about $20-$25 per mobile was launched by MTN, Africa’s largest cellular operator, in a partnership with China Mobile, chipmaker Unisoc and feature phone operating system KaiOS.
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Calling it “the world’s first 3G smart feature phone,” MTN CEO Rob Shuter said the device will beginning selling in the first quarter of next year in Nigeria and South Africa first, which are its biggest markets. MTN has 225,4-million subscribers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Shuter said it is a “wonderful bridge device” for the vast number of Africans who still use feature phones because they cannot afford smartphones.
“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,” he said at a press briefing at the annual AfricaCom conference in Cape Town.
The new 3G Smart Mobile is targeted at the Africa Market to give a better cheaper option for those unable to acquire costly smartphones and at the same time being able to utilize it’s core features at a reduced rate.
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The phone will have dual-SIM functionality, which is important in Africa especially in Nigeria where people often have SIM cards for different networks, and take advantage of competing specials for data and airtime or to make cheaper on-network calls. It has Bluetooth, GPS, a 2.4-inch screen and a large 2,000mah battery.