The recent launch in Zanzibar of Smarta, arguably the most affordable smartphone mobile device in the local market by Zantel, Tanzania’s leading B2B services provider, provides a rare opportunity for its customers.
To most low income bracket customers, Smarta is their first time smartphone possession with advanced and feature-rich digital device at the most affordable price ever in Tanzania’s telecom industry.
Coming at a time when local consumers are price sensitive, the handset allows customers to afford their daily basic needs while at the same time sparing some discretionary income to afford an up-to-the-minute digital device that not only enables them to ‘go digital’ but also raises their reputation and self-esteem-attributes that are socially linked to owning a smartphone.
“We have introduced Smarta in the market to propel affordable access to smartphones while giving people a unique opportunity to enjoy rich experiences presented by the digital lifestyle offered by Zantel through our 4G+ network,” Zantel’s Head of Mobile Business, Aneth Muga said during the launch.
Muga said with the Isles based telco’s 4G network technology, which provides one of the fastest Internet speed in the East African region, Smarta owners will have full access to digital online services like any other smartphone holder.
Granted, the introduction of the cheap smartphone is expected to break the affordability barrier, the major drawback that is associated with limited access to such gadgets in the local market and also serve as the most cost-effective option for underserved areas and low income bracket people, mainly women who are digitally marginalized due to various socio-cultural and economic factors.
Smarta comes with huge benefits to the people, more so in boosting digital literacy and development of digital technology in Tanzania which includes Zanzibar. As Head of Zantel in Zanzibar, Mohammed Mussa said, the telco seeks to, “Foster digital development by facilitating availability of affordable technology across the country.”
Mussa said the new cheap handset is also set to increase ownership of smartphones among Zantel customers who use Ezypesa, Zantel’s mobile financial service, thus further driving the government’s financial inclusion agenda.
“Additionally, it suffices to say that Zantel’s affordable smartphone will boost mobile handset sales in the market by accelerating business investment in the handset’s sales hence allowing customers to have an ideal choice in identifying affordable and trendy gadgets,” Mussa noted.
The launch further broadly speaks to digital inclusion in the country because by serving the previously underserved population, Zantel effectively contributes in accelerating digital access hence spurring the rapid development of the local telecom industry’s entire digital ecosystem.
Retailing at the recommended price of 39,999/-, Smarta, the smart feature phone, is an entirely new device in its category which serves to fortify Zantel’s affordability attribute while at the same time strengthening its role in pioneering digital products and services in the country.
The telecom boasts of other ‘firsts’ in its segment, including being the first to introduce mobile financial services, first to reduce rates on international calls by 60 percent; first to introduce wireless Internet in Tanzania and the first telecom to introduce per second billing in the market.
According to Pew Research Center (2018), Tanzania is one of the fastest smartphone penetrating markets in the Sub-Saharan Africa, a standing that is likely to be buoyed by Zantel’s introduction of Smarta.
SSA’s smartphone adoption, the Pew Centre said, stood at 33 percent last year, as opposed to 15 percent in 2014, which is more than double growth and it’s predicted to equally double by 2025.
“The number of people connected to Internet is likely to continue rising, industry projections suggest that smartphone adoption rate in Sub-Saharan Africa will double by 2025,” the ‘non-partisan American think tank that provides information on demographics,’ noted in its report.