Kenya-made smartphones to hit market at end month

Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The first consignment of the government-backed locally-assembled smartphones will be released to the market on October 30 at a retail price of $40 (about Sh6,000), ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo has said.

Responding to Business Daily queries Wednesday, the CS, however, declined to issue details on the phone specifications and number of units in the first batch.

“Yes, the release date is on October 30, that’s all for now. We will release the rest of the details at the launch,” said Mr Owalo in a text response.

Particulars of the phone such as the brand name and how last mile retail outlets will be identified also remain scanty.

The new date is a two-month delay from the earlier one which Mr Owalo indicated would be in August before going silent and declining to issue updates on the project despite incessant press inquiries.

The mobile devices, being assembled by a three-member consortium consisting of Chinese dealer Shenzhen TeleOne Technology, Safaricom and Jamii Telecommunications at the Konza Technopolis smart city, are part of the government-led efforts to foster digital access and inclusion in the country.

The production plan was first made public by President William Ruto in December last year as part of his administration’s wider agenda of revolutionising the country’s digital economy.

At the time Dr Ruto had set an ambitious timeline to deliver the cheap smartphone promise within eight to 12 months of this year. If successful, the project has been touted as a game changer.

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