President William Ruto has announced a plan by the government to produce Africa’s most affordable smartphone.
Speaking during a round table with small and medium enterprises on Thursday, November 10, the Head of State said the project will be completed within 12 months.
Once the project is completed, the smartphone is expected to retail from as low as KSh 5,000.
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“We are working with our telcos so that we can have a smartphone that is going to be less than KSh 5,000. A smartphone that can do everything you want
“I want to promise the country that in the next eight to 12 months, we will have the cheapest smartphone in Africa manufactured in Kenya,” Ruto said.
Elsewhere, Communications Authority of Kenya Director-General Ezra Chiloba has urged mobile phone manufacturers to make cheaper 5G-enabled devices.
Speaking at at the launch of Vivo’s latest handset, the V23 5G-enabled smartphone, in the Kenya market, he wondered why all the 5G-enabled phones were so expensive.
“I want to challenge you here to come up with cheaper 5G-enabled devices because not everyone can afford what you are selling in the market at the moment,” he said.
Chiloba said that the availability of 5G-enabled devices is key to accessing 5G services and that’s why today’s event is a critical milestone in that journey.
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“Indeed, the launch of the smartphone is timely as it comes at a time when our Mobile Network Operators (MNO) are gearing for the rollout of the 5G technology in the country, with Safaricom PLC having set the pace,” he added.
Safaricom recently rolled-out 5G internet services in five select counties.
Speaking during the launch, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa announced availability of the super-fast internet service in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii, Kakamega and Mombasa counties.
The company said it currently has 35 active 5G sites spread across the aforementioned counties, however, noting that they will expand to 200 sites countrywide by March 2023.
“We believe in the transformative power of the internet and will continue to deliver the most advanced technologies towards enabling our customers to enjoy a digital lifestyle
“The launch of 5G Wi-Fi is the first step in empowering our retail and enterprise customers to start exploring new opportunities that 5G provides,” Ndegwa said.
The internet service will be accessible only on 5G-enabled devices.