Orange has partnered with KaiOS Technologies and UNISOC to introduced affordable 3G-featured phones in 16 MENA countries. Those 16 countries are Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia.
The phones called Sanza phones and driven by KaiOS Technologies. Sanza is presented with 3G, voice recognition, Wi-Fi, and other features. It will cost around $US 20 per unit. Orange will start to market Sanza this April in some African countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire and will be followed in other countries by the end of this year.
With the assistance of Google Assistant, customers subscribers of Sanza phones won’t have to face language and literacy difficulties. The Google Assistant will support them to translate multiple accents, including French and English. Interestingly, Sanza’s menu is also available in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, and Swahili.
Additionally, subscribers will have access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Maps, and the most importantly, Orange Money—the flagship mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer among the other useful features.
The CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, Alioune Ndiaye, stated, “Sanza is a concrete proof of the capacity of Orange to be a key player of digital inclusion in Africa and the Middle-East. With its access to internet with the voice and its attractive price around US $20, I have the conviction that this 3G phone and soon 4G, is a powerful lever to develop the access to internet for all in Africa.”
However, the CEO of Orange Democratic Republic of Congo, Gérard Lokossou, declared, “The Smartphone penetration rate in DRC is quite low, 30 percent versus the average of 50 percent for the Continent. The established mobile payment services via Orange Money, the launch of 4G+ in 2018 and our engagement to extend 3G coverage to the whole country are all contributing to boosting the smartphone penetration rate in DRC. The next commercialization of the Sanza phone at an affordable price demonstrates our strategy for the democratization of Internet access in the country.”
To conclude, the CEO of KaiOS Technologies, Sebastien Codebille also commented, “Our mission is to help close the digital divide by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet in emerging markets, as well as providing those in established markets with an alternative to smartphones. The Sanza by Orange marks an important milestone in fulfilling this mission, as its bound to be successful in Africa with its attractive price point, great features, and the strong presence of Orange in the region.”