Today MTN Group, KaiOS Technologies, China Mobile, and 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.
The new smart feature phone runs on KaiOS — the world’s leading operating system for smart feature phones.
It includes the following features and services: fast internet access through Wi-Fi and 3G, Bluetooth connectivity and GPS for navigation, Google Assistant and other smart services, 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, and Dual SIM support.
“As MTN we are proud to be part of this partnership that supports our ambitions to deepen digital inclusion in our markets,” said Rob Shuter, CEO of MTN.
“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 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 $20-$25, which is relatively affordable compared to the price of other devices across the African continent.
“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.