News Column

Vodacom unveils another low-cost smartphone

August 5, 2014

Staff Writer

Vodacom has unveiled another low-cost Android device as SA's smartphone war increasingly becomes a low-cost smartphone war (../index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=136646:Pep-Google-pre-empt-prepaid-data-bill-shock&catid=203).

The Smart Kicka, the operator's new R549 smartphone running Android 4.4 (KitKat), is the first Vodacom-branded device and was designed specifically for the South African market. Previously, the operator offered products branded by parent company Vodafone.

The 3.5-inch device is 11.95mm thick and has an internal memory of 512MB (expandable by 4GB), a 2MP camera and a 1.0GHz dual-core processor.

Vodacom says, in order to "get people connected straight away", the device will also come with five free 50MB Power Bundles. The operator says the device-plus-bundle offering was designed with the aim of getting "more South Africans than ever before" online.

The operator launched Power Bundles in March and says these have been "hugely popular" with around half of all prepaid usage now stemming from bundles. These include a R2 bundle (10 minutes of airtime), a R4 bundle (60 minutes of airtime) and a R3 data bundle (50MB). Vodacom says it sells around 40 million bundles a month.

Phil Patel, Vodacom's chief commercial officer, says only 27% of people living in SA's emerging markets currently have access to smart devices. "We aim to double that number in the next year."

While much has been said about bringing down prices for those consuming large amounts of voice and data, Vodacom believes its bundle strategy is the key to driving Internet penetration in SA.

The operator claims it has brought down the average effective price per MB of data by 30% over the past year, through initiatives like Power Bundles. "This has resulted in a 70% increase in data traffic on [Vodacom's] network, with over 52% of Vodacom's 32.5 million South African customers now using data."

Vodacom says it plans to invest over R9 billion in its local network this year, with a large portion of this earmarked to provide 3G coverage in emerging markets.

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Source: ITWeb

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