MTN gets 16m new subscriber, unveils first feature smartphone

Telecommunications firm, MTN has launched the first feature smartphone in Africa, with a target to increase more mobile connections in the country and Africa as a whole.

Unveiled in Lagos, MTN said it has been on the project since last year before it materialised in 2019.

The South African firm, which operates across its 21 markets, grew subscriber base by 16 million during last year to reach 233 million. In its financial report ending December 31, the firm claimed that its total number of active data users increased by 10 million to reach 79 million, and the active mobile money subscriber base rose to 27 million. Total revenues from data grew by 22 per cent to ZAR28.5 billion ($2 billion) despite an average, group-wide dip of 39 per cent in the effective rate-per-megabyte. Mobile subscribers increased by six million to 58 million in Nigeria.

Speaking at the unveiling of the smart feature phone, MTN’s Chief Marketing Officer, Rahul De, said the firm is happy to say this is a break-through innovation for smartphone penetration in Nigeria.

De said the phone is available nationwide and comes with one-year warranty.

The MTN CFO said the telecommunications firm wants more people to go online, stressing that in the last couple of years Nigerians have demonstrated huge capacity of what they can do online. “But we believe Nigerians can do more if there is more access to cheaper and stronger handsets, which is what we have put in the new smart feature phone. It is 3G enabled and only goes for N8000.”

According to him, cheaper handsets have been a limitation to connectivity, “and connectivity is critical to GDP growth of a country. Studies have shown that with improved connectivity, the economy tends to gain more and vice versa.So, we at MTN are ready to push for more opportunities in that line.”

De said the smart feature phone has been tested to ensure durability, and smartness.

Giving more insight, Senior Manager, Data and Devices Marketing and Startegy Division, Abiodun Ajayi, said the phone comes with exciting features including 2000mAh Battery (2days standby time); App store with customized apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube; six-months free data and compressed data usage, dual sim, front and back camera, App Store, google maps, among others.

Ajayi, who described the phone as compact, stylish and affordable, noted that the device is an initiative of the MTN Group, meaning that other markets where the telecommunications firm has presence would have the device.

Operating on Kai Operating System (KaiOS), Ajayi said the newly launched phone will help Africa’s largest phone network dominate mobile phones in Africa as well as provide rural communities with access to the Internet.

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