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Orange launches a new smart feature phone powered by KaiOS

February 26, 2019 • East Africa, Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories, West Africa

Orange launches a smart feature phone powered by KaiOS

The new KaiOS-powered smart feature phone, Sanza.

Orange has partnered with KaiOS Technologies and UNISOC to launch a phone with voice recognition at $US 20 in 16 countries in Africa and the Middle-East : Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Tunisia.

An affordable 3G smart feature phone

Beginning April 2019, Orange customers in Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire will have access to a new category of smart feature phones powered by KaiOS, the operating system from KaiOS Technologies. The other countries will follow in the year.

Sanza will be commercialised with a dedicated offer (voice/text/data) starting around $20 USD (depending on the country), that will help customers to optimise their budget.

Sanza is powered by the UNISOC SC7731EF chipset platform with a long-lasting battery life up to 5 days, claims the company. The phone will also feature 3G+, Torch, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, combined with advanced smartphone-like functionalities.

Advanced functionalities for Africans

With Google Assistant, Sanza will help overcome language and literacy challenges, as customers can access information and applications on the device easily, just with their voice, and without having to type. The Google Assistant understands multiple French and English accents, with more languages to come later this year. The phone menu is available in Arabic, Swahili, Portuguese, English and French.

This new phone will also give access to applications such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps, as well as Orange Money, the flagship mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer and My Orange, the application to monitor customers mobile consumption, among other things.

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa said, “Sanza is a concrete proof of the capacity of Orange to be a key player of digital inclusion in Africa and the Middle-East. With its access to internet with the voice and its attractive price around US $20, I have the conviction that this 3G phone and soon 4G, is a powerful lever to develop the access to internet for all in Africa”.

Gérard Lokossou, CEO of Orange Democratic Republic of Congo said, “The Smartphone penetration rate in DRC is quite low, 30 per cent versus the average of 50 per cent for the Continent. The established mobile payment services via Orange Money, the launch of 4G+ in 2018 and our engagement to extend 3G coverage to the whole country are all contributing to boost the smartphone penetration rate in DRC. The next commercialisation of the Sanza phone at an affordable price demonstrates our strategy for the democratisation of Internet access in the country.”

Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies said, “Our mission is to help close the digital divide by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet in emerging markets, as well as providing those in established markets with an alternative to smartphones. The Sanza by Orange marks an important milestone in fulfilling this mission, as its bound to be successful in Africa with its attractive price point, great features, and the strong presence of Orange in the region.”

Orange is present in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle-East and has 120 million customers. With five billion euros of revenues in 2017, this zone is a strategic priority for the Group. Orange Money, its flagship mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 40 million customers. Orange, a multi-services operator and key partner of the digital transformation provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle-East.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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