Orange partnering with Google to launch $30 4G smartphones for Africans soon

France’s largest telco, Orange in collaboration with the global tech giant, Google has finalised plans to launch an exclusive low budget 4G smartphone named Sanza by October 2020.

With the intention of populating African markets with affordable smartphones, each phone will go at a retail price of $30 (₦11,505). 

It will first be released in Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, and Madagascar, but the plan is for the whole of Africa and the Middle East. Each phone will come with airtime for calls, SMS and data bundle. It can also be paid for in installments as it comes an application that supports this — Payjoy.

The Sanza brand was first launched in 2019 and can be found in 13 African and Middle East countries.  These smartphones have features like 4” screen, 8GB internal memory, and 1750mAh battery. When launched, they will serve as an affordable alternative for high-end smartphones with 4G Internet spectrum. 

This is not the first attempt at low budget locally-made smartphones in Africa. However, Sanza appears to be one of the cheapest.

According to Orange, the focus is on Africa and Middle East because it wants to bring these regions up to the level of Internet penetration experienced across the world. For Google, this move aligns with the plans behind the launch of Android (Go edition) in 2018 — global mobile broadband penetration.

One thing is clear, both multinationals have strong interests and ties with the continent. 

Google has been involved in the installation of various Internet infrastructures, responsible for free Wi-Fi at public places — which has since been discontinued — among others. Recall, it also made moves at talent development with the launch of the Google Developers Space in Nigeria for sub-Saharan Africa.

Asides this, the tech giant has several other initiatives whose results are expected to further drive economic growth among small businesses.

Orange, on the other hand, has taken dominance in some African countries’ telecommunication industry, including Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In fact, the company’s intent was made known four months ago to enter Africa’s largest economies — Nigeria and South Africa. Besides, there are several other investments in tech products named after the company.

Apparently, Africa continues to be a focal point for global companies to make products that fit into its peculiar markets. It is hoped that the launch of Sanza will result in a noticeable growth in Internet connectivity when it eventually goes mainstream.