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Vodacom's US$20 smart feature phone sells out in Tanzania

Vodacom’s US smart feature phone sells out in Tanzania

The Smart Kitochi smart feature phone, powered by KaiOS, has been successfully launched in Tanzania, with the operator confirming that more stock is needed.

The device was launched by Vodacom Tanzania PLC, in partnership with KaiOS operating system, hardware manufacturer Azumi Mobile and global chipset manufacturer MediaTek in early November 2019.

The device offers access to popular apps such as WhatsApp, Google Assistant, Facebook, YouTube and the partners encourage local content development to enrich the app offering, along with access to the KaiStore.

According to Sylvester Moyo, Executive Head of Terminals of Vodacom International Business, the Smart Kitochi is very popular and Vodacom retail outlets have been forced to ramp up volumes because of demand.

"With the competitive price and special data bundle offer, we anticipate market adoption will gain further momentum as the acceptance of the product features increases. This launch forms part of our bigger strategy to contribute towards positive economic development through bridging the digital divide," said Moyo.

Sebastien Codeville, chief executive officer of KaiOS Technologies, said, "We launched in the African market a year ago with a focus on ensuring first-time mobile users have access to affordable solutions, and we're excited to expand these efforts into Tanzania alongside Vodacom, Azumi and MediaTek. We're also focused on building a content ecosystem through our developer portal and supporting African developers, through developer workshops across the continent. These efforts ensure content and services are valuable and relevant to each individual market."

Tayshira Khan, head of Azumi Mobile Africa, added: "The Smart Kitochi is removing barriers to mobile adoption, and eliminating the digital divide in Tanzania, a country heavily impacted by its negative effects."

MediaTek believes the device will strengthen the already fast-growing smart feature phone proposition in East Africa.

"Following this launch we will continue to support Vodacom users across its footprint to unlock the potential of connecting to (the) internet and communicating with each other using very affordable devices."

Vodacom has confirmed the device will be ready for the South African market in Q2 2020.

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