The entry-level smartphone landscape is changing in South Africa. There is an influx of reasonably priced entry level smartphones hitting the market at the moment, and it won’t be long before we see the illusive (decent spec) entry level smartphone hitting the market at around R500.
Personally I have been on the hunt over the last couple of months to find this phone, specifically to distribute to the rural markets, as there is still a huge gap there waiting to be filled. Having said that, nothing amazing has come up and even though MTN launched the Steppa and Vodacom has a basic smartphone on the way for around $45, nothing is blowing the “basic-entry-level” market out the water.
Having said that, there have been 2 interesting brands launched over the last couple of weeks. Kalahari introduced the gobii range of smartphones recently with 2 different models(4″ gobii smartphone IIP (R999) & 4.5″ smartphone IVP (R1,699)), and the guys from Afrihost hooked up with the team from Zest Mobile to launch the Zest T1 smartphone (
R2,599/R1,999 launch price Update: Just been informed that the R1,999 price is standard Edit: 21/7: Pricing has been put up again to R2,499) next week.
Both brands of phones run a fairly new version of Android (Jelly Bean & Kit Kat) and have decent specs in the hardware department. Both phones are dual sim, which means they come with a pre-installed sim card with data loaded on. Afrihost give you a 1GB data bundle per month, while Kalahari give you a 200MB Cell C bundle per month.
Here is a spec comparison of the 3 phones.
All in all, it’s an interesting “war” to be watching, as ultimately it means an uptake in Smartphone usage in South Africa, and giving people access to content they never previously had! That’s the winner :)