French multinational telecommunications major Orange has launched globally the latest device in its Sanza range, an exclusive series of smartphone and 4G Android devices, as part of the line-up of activities for the GSMA Thrive Africa 2020.
The Sanza touch launch is supported by Google and builds on the American tech company’s efforts since it rolled out Android (Go edition) two years ago, to accelerate the pace of digital adoption across Africa.
The new device will retail around $30, an affordable price point intended to make it the most accessible on the market, Orange said. The goal is to drive digital inclusion and provide access to mobile internet for more people across the 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it had 124 million customers as of July. “Orange wants to strongly accelerate access to connectivity on the African continent,” noted Alioune Ndiaye, Middle East and Africa chief executive.
The affordability of devices remains one of the most significant barriers to smartphone adoption in Africa with the average cost of an entry-level smartphone in the continent still exceeding 60 percent of average monthly income, per GSMA. That makes smartphones largely inaccessible for the majority of the population, a problem Orange is looking to tackle.
“While 90 percent of the world’s population is now covered by mobile broadband, 3.3 billion people who live in areas covered by mobile broadband remain unconnected for reasons such as affordability, low levels of literacy and digital skills,” Ndiaye explained. “The partnership with Google to offer the Sanza touch smartphone for sale will enable us to solve this problem thanks to its affordable price and advanced functionalities.”
The Sanza touch smartphone will be available from October with a bundled mobile data plan (voice, SMS, data), according to the company. It also has features including the Payjoy application, which allows customers to overcome budget issues by paying for their smartphone over several installments (depending on availability in their country). The device will be sold in most countries in the Middle East and Africa region, starting with Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, and Madagascar.
Orange is a multi-service operator that provides expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East – including internet connectivity and mobile money services. With 5.6 billion euros in turnover in 2019 and 6 percent annual growth, Orange MEA is the Group’s main region of growth.