MTN Rwanda has launched a 3G feature phone that is available on market for Rwf19,800 and is expected to boost internet penetration in Rwanda.
Richard Acheampong, the Chief Marketing Officer, said that the smart feature phones, dubbed “Ikosora”, will be available in MTN service centres and later in different phone shops across the country.
The new affordable smart phones, he said, have high speed internet access on 3G, WI-FI, applications such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Youtube,, Twitter, Google Apps among others while My MTN App will soon be introduced.
The phones also have Bluetooth connectivity and GPS for navigation, mobile hotspot, two cameras as well as music and video streaming services and 2000mah battery life.
He said that statistics show that the high cost of smart phone has been a barrier to internet penetration in Rwanda hence the new feature smartphone costing Rwf19, 800 to enable a large section of the population to embrace internet use.
He said a section of the population could not afford a smart phone of between Rwf30,000 and Rwf40,000 leading them to introduce a new product at half the cost.
“The phones will be available at all MTN service centres and franchisee shops nationwide. Whoever will buy the phone will also get a free 1GB internet bundle per month for three months,” he said.
He added, “We are also looking at other exciting initiatives around the phone such as introduction of flexible payment schemes to ensure everybody who wishes is able to afford the phone.”
Desire Ruhinguka, the Marketing Operations Senior Manager at MTN Rwanda, said that the product was introduced under a partnership with Chinese Mobile company.
“At least 200,000 smart feature phones will be on the market this year,” he said, adding that it was part of an investment of $20 million that started last year with upgrading connectivity and expanding internet to 3G internet from 2G that is now over 70 per cent population coverage.
“Two months ago we embarked on a data use campaign where we showed clients how they can make use of internet in daily life, business, studying among others. The new smart feature phone will enforce this data campaign because those urged to use internet will now have the affordable smart phone to use,” he said.
Lily Zondo, The MTN Rwanda’s Chief Financial Officer, said: “At MTN, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. With the introduction of this phone, it will be attainable for more Rwandans than ever before.’
The move contributes to the firm’s aspirational vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world while continuing to churn out exciting products and services that are tailored to help clients live connected lifestyles.
“We have to reach all customers to ensure inclusivity. We spent a lot of investment in upgrading our network since last year whereby we have tripled internet speed on MTN network. Everyone deserves a modern connected world and understand the opportunities in using internet by using the new smart feature phone,” she said.
Local actor and comedian, popularly known as Claspton ‘Kibonge’ will be doing community activations focusing on promoting the device and data services to data users which Rwandans can access on Youtube using the Ikosora phone.