Zimbabwe-based telco, Econet Wirelss has partnered with KaiOS Technologies to launch the “Atom 3G” phone. This is set to be Zimbabwe’s first 3D smart feature phone.
The device is expected to push millions of Zimbabweans into digital inclusion through easier internet access with the phone.
KaiOS Technologies is one of the leading players in the feature phone operating systems space.
At the device launch, Econet said that people purchasing the device will receive free 6GB worth of data bundles for each device bought. This is supposed to last the user an average of three months.
The device is priced affordably at almost half the price of the average Android smartphone. It will be available at Econet Shops and from various distribution agents in Zimbabwe.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has made life difficult for people in Zimbabwe. We want to help them get online, communicate with their loved ones locally and abroad via WhatsApp, SASAI, or through regular cellular voice calls,” said Econet CEO, Navdeep Kapur.
The device is also Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS-enabled.
He added, “We also want our customers to access valuable content at this time, such as medical tips and advice.”
The CEO went on to further describe the device’s specs. They include:
- 1,500mAh battery: enough to run for 48 hours with moderate use
- 512mb storage and a microSD card should the user require more space
- A 2.4 inch display
- Google Assistant: This is a useful tool for user’s who would prefer to interact with the device using voice commands
Other features and apps include: Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook and an in-house App called Life, which offers digital skills training and other educational material.
Users can download these and any of over 600 more data-lite applications from the KaiStore.
A 2020 report by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) reported that mobile data penetration in Zimbabwe currently sits at 59.1%, a figure econet is looking to increase with the launch of Atom 3G.
Mr Kapur said, “The Atom 3G phone will soon feature the SASAI all-in-one App, whose growing number of utility apps includes the SASAI Health Status Report, which is set to help individuals, families, employees, employers, policy makers and others manage and mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic.”
CEO, KaiOS Technologies, Sebastian Codeville, said, “We are delighted that KaiOS-enabled devices, which combine durability, affordability and ease-of-use in one, are now available in Zimbabwe.
With access to important, useful and relevant content, we believe this device will enable every Zimbabwean to benefit from digitalization and positively impact their life.”