Vodacom, keen to get more South Africans onto its mobile broadband network, has launched a 7-inch 3G tablet that costs less than R1 000. The launch of the Smart Tab 3G comes just two months after the mobile operator launched the successful Smart Kicka, an entry-level smartphone that retails for R549.
“Providing access in South Africa is not easy, but our strategy is to deliver access to everyone,” says Vodacom chief officer for the consumer business unit Phil Patel.
Vodacom intends investing R9bn in its network this year. Its aim is to deliver 3G coverage wherever 2G is available now, with a key focus on rural and township areas, Patel says.
The Vodacom Smart Tab 3G has a 960×540-pixel display, a dual-core 1,3GHz processor, 4GB of storage space (2GB of it is available to users) and 512MB of RAM. Those wanting more storage space can plug in a microSD card, with formats of up to 32GB supported.
The Smart Tab 3G supports GPRS and Edge in the 900MHz and 1,8GHz bands, 3G (the zippy HSPA+ variety) in the 900MHz and 2,1GHz bands, and can connect to Wi-Fi networks using 802.11 b/g/n.
The operating system it runs is Android 4.4 (KitKat) and there is a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera and 0,3-megapixel camera on the front. The tablet weighs 275g.
But can the market the tablet is targeting afford the data charges it will attract? After all, Vodacom’s ad hoc prepaid data price is still R2/MB.
Patel says the cost of data will become less of a concern as time-based and event-based billing models take hold. For instance, a user might pay R3 for an hour of access, or a flat rate for a certain type of content.
He says this will depend on the user and their habits, but packages that provide access to data based on the time consumers use it for will change the way entry-level smartphone devices are used in rural communities.
The Vodacom Smart Tab 3G will be available from Wednesday and can be purchased on a R59/month, 24-month contract that includes 500MB of data. Prepaid users will receive 100MB/month for the first three months. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media