China Perspective

Chinese firm launches mobile phone in Kenya

Updated: 2011-01-19 20:59
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NAIROBI - The Chinese telecommunications firm, Huawei, has partnered with Kenya's mobile phone firm Safaricom to launch the smartphone IDEOSTM U8150 into the local market.

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The phone, currently the most affordable entry-level smartphone in Africa and across the world, will be distributed exclusively by Safaricom.

The device, a new generation and universal-type Android Internet Handset powered by the latest iteration of AndroidTM 2.2, is designed to target young fashionable and trendy people, has been developed by Huawei in cooperation with Google.

Speaking during the launch in Nairobi on Wednesday, Safaricom Chief Commercial Officer Peter Arina said Safaricom will continue partnering with handset manufacturers in efforts to drive down costs and increase data uptake in the Kenyan market.

"This will help in our efforts to connect more people to the Internet by availing cost effective gadgets to compliment our low priced data tariffs as we focus on driving data uptake. This goes to re-enforce our view that data has a critical role to play in our future business plans," Arina told journalists in Nairobi.

The ergonomically designed IDEOSTM U8150, provides a variety of ways to access the Internet, as it boasts downlink speeds of more than 7.2Mbps, offers WCDMA + WiFi dual network support, and offers ubiquitous mobile broadband services.

The device also doubles as a WiFi router for up to six devices at a time, making it an all-in-one solution for a range of wireless connectivity options.

Available in blue, black, yellow, and red, the IDEOSTM U8150, not only runs fast, but also supports functions such as voice dialing, voice navigation, social networking and the ability to run applications off the SD card.

With numerous applications available in the Android Market, IDEOSTM U8150 provides a wide range of communication, entertainment, office, and financial management applications.

"We are delighted to work together with our partners to continue providing affordable innovative smartphones. Our focus is on the value proposition to offer intelligent solutions to help telecom operators attract more subscribers and business opportunities and most importantly to create a simple and fun life for end users," Huawei Kenya Chief Operations Officer Radoslaw Kedzia said.

"The collaboration of Huawei and a globally recognized brand such as with Google, will assist in driving the internet evolution in the emerging markets such as Africa. We are deeply excited about the launch of our U8150, the first of the IDEOS series, and we are confident that consumers will enjoy smarter devices created for a simpler world."

A recent research by TNS Research International on internet use habits and motivations showed that Kenya and Sub-Saharan African internet use is in a strong growth phase mostly driven by growth in mobile access with latest statistics showing that six out of every ten Kenyan users access internet through mobile phones.

Safaricom has continued to invest heavily in its data infrastructure. The number of 3G enabled sites has increased significantly as has been the Wimax network offering coverage to a large proportion of the Kenya population.

"We are now positioned to provide better and faster mobile and fixed data products and services to corporate, medium sized enterprises and even individuals at affordable rates," said Arina.