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GTeL has shipped 250,000 smart devices in the local market, says Robert Gonye

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Local mobile device maker, GTeL today revealed some interesting figures on their performance. Speaking during the #GetSocial event held today, GTeL’s marketing manager Mr Robert Gonye said GTeL has so far shipped 250,000 android devices locally.

GTeL is a local mobile device brand that distributes GTeL branded mobile devices that include low cost entry level android smartphones, to mid-range and high-spec android devices.

In a follow up conversation, Gonye told me that GTeL smartphone sales throughout 2013 averaged +/- 18,000 monthly, which translates to an estimate of 216,000 smartphone units. Note, GTeL also sales a variety of feature phones generally under $70.

It seems like GTeL’s predecessor brand G-Tide was not as successful. According to Gonye, G-Tide moved an average of 1500 units each month.

This is no surprise as G-Tide was usually accompanied by the “poor quality tag”, so much so that some people created a Facebook page against it.

However, this is something GTeL has managed to get past, partly thanks to the Android open source software and their re-branding exercise. The devices have also noticeably improved in quality and perceptions have changed for the better.

Last year GTeL made the bold and risky move of appointing Buhera West MP Joseph Chinotimba as their brand ambassador. Contrary to my initial views, the move seems to have paid off for GTeL as Gonye also revealed that sales increased 15% soon after the Chinotimba appointment.

We haven’t independently verified the figures thrown by GTeL but they seem plausible because their distribution model has worked. GTeL has managed to become the dominant mobile brand in the civil service market thanks to the credit facility they have made available to civil servants.

The Zero deposit facility allows any civil servant to buy a GTeL devices on credit of upto 6 months.

But just how big is the civil service market? Well, as of January 2013, 70% of government revenues went to pay civil service salaries. It’s that big a market.

Unfortunately (maybe fortunately for GTeL), some civil servants have abused the facility to get quick cash indirectly. They buy a GTeL phone on credit, which they in turn quickly dispose off mainly at Ximex Mall for less than a third of it’s value (as set by GTeL).

Late last year, GTeL’s local competitor Astro claimed to have recorded $5 million in revenues from the sale of Astro branded android smartphones.


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