MTN has announced that it will launch a budget Android smartphone across its African markets in the second half of 2019.
Speaking at the company’s interim results presentation, MTN group CEO Rob Shuter said the device would be priced at $20 (R300) and would run the Android Go operating system.
“We will be launching a low-cost Android smartphone built by Mobicel in the next quarter,” Shuter said.
This follows the launch of MTN’s Smart S “smart feature phone” in South Africa, which is priced at R249 and runs the KaiOS operating system.
The Smart S has a traditional keypad and feature phone design, but supports modern mobile apps including WhatsApp, Google Maps, Facebook, and Google Assistant.
MTN’s upcoming R300 smartphone will run Android Go, a lightweight version of the Android operating system which is designed specifically for cheaper devices and includes support for Google Play Services and official Android apps.
Shuter said that the smartphone is currently active on MTN’s network in a trial phase, and the device would launch across most of the company’s portfolio after this phase.
“A lot of these smartphones have low amounts of memory, and the apps need to be heavily optimised to function on low-end devices,” Shuter said. “Once we get everything working, we will begin to roll it out.”
Shuter confirmed that the new Android smartphone would be available in South Africa in addition to other markets.