Orange has partnered with KaiOS Technologies and UNISOC to launch a budget phone with voice recognition feature at $US 20 in 16 countries in Africa and the Middle-East. The feature phone, branded Sanza, will be launched in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Tunisia.
From April 2019, Orange customers in Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire will have access to a new category of smart feature phones powered by KaiOS, the operating system from KaiOS Technologies. The other countries will follow in the year.
(TOP: The specs of the Sanza feature phone announced by Orange and partners at #MWC2019).
Sanza will be commercialised with a dedicated offer (voice/text/data) starting around $US 20 (depending on the country), that will help customers to optimise their budget.
Sanza has the simplicity of a feature phone powered by the UNISOC SC7731EF chipset platform with a long-lasting battery life up to 5 days, 3G+, Torch, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, combined with advanced smartphone-like functionalities.
Thanks to the Google Assistant, Sanza will help overcome language and literacy challenges, as our customers can access information and applications on the device easily, just with their voice, and without having to type. The Google Assistant understands multiple French and English accents, with more languages to come later this year. The phone menu is available in Arabic, Swahili, Portuguese, English and French.
This new phone will also give access to applications such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps, as well as Orange Money, the flagship mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer and My Orange, the application to monitor your mobile consumption, among other things.
For Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa:”Sanza is a concrete proof of the capacity of Orange to be a key player of digital inclusion in Africa and the Middle-East. With its access to internet with the voice and its attractive price around US $20, I have the conviction that this 3G phone and soon 4G, is a powerful lever to develop the access to internet for all in Africa”.
For Gérard Lokossou, CEO of Orange DRC: “The Smartphone penetration rate in DRC is quite low, 30 per cent versus the average of 50 per cent for the Continent. The established mobile payment services via Orange Money, the launch of 4G+ in 2018 and our engagement to extend 3G coverage to the whole country are all contributing to boost the smartphone penetration rate in DRC. The next commercialisation of the Sanza phone at an affordable price demonstrates our strategy for the democratisation of Internet access in the country.”
Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies, said: “Our mission is to help close the digital divide by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet in emerging markets, as well as providing those in established markets with an alternative to smartphones. The Sanza by Orange marks an important milestone in fulfilling this mission, as its bound to be successful in Africa with its attractive price point, great features, and the strong presence of Orange in the region.”
Orange is present in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle-East and has 120 million customers.
KaiOS Technologies powers an ecosystem of affordable digital products and services. Its flagship product, KaiOS, is the emerging mobile operating system for smart feature phones with more than 50 million active users in over 100 countries. Kai’s mission is to help close the digital divide by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet in emerging markets, as well as providing those in established markets with an alternative to smartphones. KaiOS is based on HTML5 and other open web technologies. Devices running on the platform require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience through access to apps like the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps, and Twitter.
As a core subsidiary of Tsinghua Unigroup, UNISOC is a fabless semiconductor company committed to the independent R&D of core chipsets in mobile communications and IoT. Its products cover mobile chipset platforms supporting 2G / 3G / 4G / 5G communication standards, RF chipsets, wireless connection chipsets, security chipsets, TV chipsets, and image sensor chipsets. With more than 4,500 staff, 14 R&D centers and 8 customer support centers around the world(as of Oct 2018), UNISOC has been one of the top 3 mobile baseband chipset suppliers in the world, the largest pan-chip provider in China, and the leading 5G communications chipset design company in China.