Vodacom, South Africa’s largest mobile phone operator, has sold more than 2.1 million Vodacom branded handsets and tablets since August 2014. By Gugu Lourie
“It’s no secret South Africans are data hungry and there is an increasing need for smart devices. I’m confident that our own branded smart range partnered with our propositions and world-class network is well positioned to provide the best mobile experience to customers,” said Vodacom’s managing executive for Terminals, Davide Tacchino.
As part of its commitment to democratising access to the Internet, Vodacom on Tuesday introduced four new branded range of Smart devices at its head office in Midrand.
Vodacom and MTN are bringing own-branded devices, such as tablets and smartphones, into South Africa as part of their ambitious plans to accelerate Internet uptake. This is a big gamble for the two mobile giants as they make their entry into the highly-competitive market for branded devices.
Internet is meant to improve the lives of people and facilitate access to economic opportunities and social welfare. A number of South Africans cannot access the Internet nor afford premium tablets, such as Ipad’s, Samsung’s, Lenovo, etc. that are in a north of R4 000.
Mobile operators have realised that growth in voice telephony is dwindling and they are making a plan to migrate customers to data usage. They are hoping that by developing their own low-cost branded devices they will drive subscriber growth and diversify revenue generation.
In short, mobile giants are attempting to utilise low-cost devices to fuel growth in the Internet space and uptake of smart devices. But they still need to drop the prices from $50 to a range of $25-$20 to make it more attractive to customers.
The market for smart devices is big and promises to generate billions for mobile operators and manufactures.