'Africa’s first 3G smart feature phone’

MTN Group, KaiOS Tecmtnhnologies, China Mobile and UNISOC have announced a partnership to launch the world’s first 3G smart feature phone in Africa

This announcement was made at the annual AfricaCom conference held in Cape Town.

Rob Shuter, group president and CEO of MTN, said, “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 will run on KaiOS-an operating system for smart feature phones.

It will include features and services like fast Internet access through Wi-Fi and 3G, Bluetooth connectivity and GPS for navigation, Google Assistant and other smart services, KaiStore-home to the most popular apps and localised content, 2 cameras, as well as music and video streaming services, long battery life and Dual SIM support.

Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies, commented, “With 834mn people still unconnected to the Internet in Africa, the launch with MTN, UNISOC and China Mobile stands to have a significant impact on communities across the continent.”

“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,” Codeville added.

The new smart feature phone will be powered by the UNISOC SC7731EF, the 3G smart chipset with up to 256MB RAM. The device will have a 2.4’ screen, 256MB/512MB RAM/ROM and a 2000MAH battery.

Adam Zeng, executive vice-president of Unigroup and CEO of UNISOC, said, “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.”

The 3G smart feature phone will initially be available from MTN in Nigeria and South Africa followed very shortly by the other MTN operations in Africa as well as the Middle East.

The new product will retail between US$20-US$25 and will be available starting from the first quarter of 2019.

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