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Safaricom happy with Kenya's response to Neon smartphone

Safaricom happy with Kenya's response to Neon smartphone

Safaricom says it has sold over 600,000 units of its Neon smartphone (understood to retail at an average price of under US$50) since April 2019.

The device is positioned to address a new and increasing market segment based on the migration from feature phones to low-cost smartphones.

Michael Joseph, chief executive officer at Safaricom, said: "We introduced the Neon Smartphone range to cater to customers seeking quality and reliable smartphones at an affordable price. The devices are especially designed to appeal to first-time smartphone users and have been received quite well, emerging as our most preferred smartphone range."

In addition to being 4G-enabled, the smartphones are VoLTE-ready and boasts "optimum combination of battery capacity, device storage and memory".

It runs off the Android Go operating system and, according to Safaricom, this ensures that the minimum resources are required to access common apps in the Neon smartphones.

"Android (Go edition) helps Neon smartphone users control their data usage by managing which apps can use data through the 'Data Saver' feature and compressing data through the Chrome browser," the company added.

Research shows that low cost smartphones are gaining traction in emerging markets like Africa due to pricing and demand for online connectivity, especially in rural areas

An excerpt from a report, the Economic Challenges Cause Decline in Africa's Smartphone Market, released by International Data Corporation (IDC) stated: "Africa's smartphone market continues to be spurred by the growing popularity of low-end to mid-range devices."

Arnold Ponela, a research analyst at IDC said: "With most of the continent's markets experiencing numerous economic challenges, it is clear that cheaper phones offering better value will increasingly dominate the market."

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