This comes after an executive from TECNO made the remarks in an interview at Africacom last week. The company is out to lower the barriers to smartphone ownership in Africa with this move.
TECNO has maintained a very strong presence in Africa thanks to partnerships with MNOs on the continent like Safaricom, Airtel and MTN. It reportedly moves up to 1.5 million devices per month in Nigeria alone and has strong foothold in Ghana and East Africa as well.
If the sub-$30 does become reality in 2015 it will likely be distributed through the same channels.
Although the TECNO brand is hardly visible in Zimbabwe it would definitely be a welcome entrant in a market that has a very low smartphone penetration rate (just 15% which is low relative to the 106.4% mobile phone penetration rate).
In Africa the prospects for internet based opportunities that follow any exponential increase in smartphone penetration are remarkable seeing that internet access is largely through the phone.
Currently the local market is dominated by the now waning Nokia brand which has a strong following through Series 40 and S60 feature phones.
Android devices, which are the second most popular on the market, have been on a sharp increase thanks to aggressive market penetration plays by brands like Huawei, Samsung and ZTE that have also partnered with MNOs like Econet. Other brands like Gtel and Astro have also made an impression on the Zimbabwean market.
With an additional 25% tax now being charged on mobile devices, the cheaper low end smartphones and high end feature phones are most likely going to be the product focus for most distributors in the short to medium term.
Look out for more arrangements between MNOs and distributors (especially of Chinese phones) as the networks eye an increased smartphone penetration and the distributors like TECNO spread out into ideal markets like Zimbabwe.
image credits: TECNO
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