Zimbabwe’s Swav making African strides in mobile market

Only months ago, the only mobile phone devices found in Kenya were Chinese made products. Now, the introduction of cheap and easy-to-use handsets into the country by Zimbabwe’s Swav, Kenyans are able to enjoy more diversity in choice of the mobile phone they choose.

The Swav Astro smartphone (image: Swav)

“It’s nice to see that the market is opening up and for the local companies in Africa to make a move on the Chinese makers,” said Andrew Urchardt, a Nairobi-based IT correspondent.

He told IT News Africa that “competition will be the key to Africa being able to compete with the larger, and often cheaper, products from China.”

Launched in 2010, Swav is now exporting to East Africa’s largest telecom market – Kenya and Nigeria in West Africa, as well as Angola in Southern Africa – with plans under way to expand into several other African countries.

Although the markets in Kenya and Angola are recording limited success, the company is selling about 100,000 handsets in Nigeria every month. Nigeria is Africa’s largest telecom market by investment and subscriptions.

“The fact they are there is vital to their success. People I see are noticing them here in Nairobi and they are beginning to see them as a great alternative to China,” Urchardt said. The Swav line of products includes Smartphones sold under the Swav brand on the Android platform. The Android phones have touch screens, GPS, Wi-Fi, camera and 3G services.

Janan Yussif