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Vodacom Tanzania launches Smart Kitochi

Vodacom Tanzania launches Smart Kitochi

Vodacom Tanzania has launched the Smart Kitochi KaiOS-powered smart feature phone.

In a statement released by the mobile network operator, the device is touted as the first smart feature phone available in the Tanzanian market and retails at TZS 48,000 (US$20).

The Smart Kitochi can connect to the internet and social media, and features Wi-Fi , GPS and 1400mAh battery, as well as a hybrid dual-SIM slot that can support two SIM cards with 4GB+ 512MB RAM memory.

The company added that KaiOS supports 3G + 4G/LTE, Wi-Fi, GPS and Hotspot and described the mobile operating system as the third largest worldwide, running on over 100 million devices shipped across Africa, Europe, Asia and Americas.

"We're excited to introduce the first smart feature phone in the market alongside our partner KaiOS Technologies," says George Lugata, Vodacom's Executive Head of Sales. "Despite wide coverage of network in the country, we still face a challenge of digital divide caused by low smartphone penetration so by introducing the Smart Kitochi, we'll bring valuable digital services and information to this market at a price that people can afford."

Sebastien Codeville, chief executive officer of KaiOS Technologies, said, "The digital divide across Africa as a whole remains very large. We're incredibly focused on establishing partnerships and delivering mobile technology that addresses this issue, which is why we're so thrilled to be working with Vodacom. The Smart Kitochi is a key step in connecting those who remain disconnected from mobile internet and all of the valuable resources in Tanzania and beyond."

According to Vodacom, the device is exclusively available in Tanzania for now, but will be available in other African countries "soon".

In February 2019 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 hosted in Barcelona, Spain, KaiOS Technologies said it wanted to expand the reach of its operating system in Africa.

David Bang, KaiOS VP for business development for the Americas, was quoted as saying that in terms of the company's expansion plans, Africa makes sense as the next big market to deploy to after India.

In July 2019 KaiOS Technologies and Facebook announced WhatsApp's availability for download in the KaiStore, on 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

According to statistics sourced from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Vodacom Tanzania has 32% market share, followed by Tigo (29%) and Airtel Tanzania (25%).

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