Vodacom debuts low-cost, high-end smartphone - TechCentral

Vodacom debuts low-cost, high-end smartphone


Vodacom is introducing a high-end smartphone with a 5,5-inch 1080p display and an octa-core processor for R3 199, undercutting the prices of similar devices from big brand-name manufacturers.

The Chinese-made Vodacom-branded smartphone, the Smart Ultra 6, is comparable to high-end smartphones from big-name brands, but at a much lower cost, the company said on Tuesday.

The phone supports 4G/LTE, too. It runs Android 5.0 and is powered by a 3 000mAh battery. The Smart Ultra 6 also has a 13-megapixel “premium” (Vodacom’s description) rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. It comes with 500MB/month of data for three months along with video and streaming services and access to an education portal.

The Smart Ultra 6 is one of four new low-cost smartphones and tablets that Vodacom intends launching on 1 October in the hopes of getting more of its subscribers off its 2G network and onto 3G and 4G services. “We are betting our summer on these [devices],” said Vodacom chief commercial officer Godfrey Motsa.

Other than the Smart Ultra 6, Vodacom is introducing:

  • The Smart Grand 6 – 5-inch FWVGA display; quad-core processor, Android 5.1; 1 800mAh battery; 5-megapixel main camera; 3G; 100MB/month times six months (R1 099)
  • Power Tab 10 – 10,1-inch WXGA display with 10-point multi-touch, dual-core processor; 4 060mAh battery; 2-megapixel main camera; 3G; 200MB/month times six months (R1 799)
  • Smart Speed 6 – 4,5-inch FWVGA display; quad-core processor; Android 5.1; microSD card slot; 5-megapixel main camera; 4G; 500MB/month times three months (R1 299)

All the phones come with music and video streaming services and access to Vodacom’s education portal. The phones have a 24-month warranty.

Since Vodacom introduced its own-branded devices in mid-2014, it has sold 2m of them – with about a million of these being its low-cost Smart Kicka device.

Vodacom's new own-branded devices

Vodacom’s new own-branded devices

Motsa said Vodacom’s intention is to migrate 2G users to 3G and 3G users to 4G as quickly as possible. Low-cost devices are key to this strategy, he said.

Of the 28m devices on Vodacom’s network, more than half are still on 2G — and of this number almost 8m do not use data services at all. “Our belief and argument is we cannot leave some sectors of the population behind in this Internet revolution. People who using 2G, we have to move them to 3G and those using 3G have to go to 4G.”

Vodacom has 10m 3G and 2m 4G devices connected to its network.  — © 2015 NewsCentral Media