New low-cost device and Power Bundles to drive internet access in emerging markets
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Vodacom today launched the Smart Kicka, a new smartphone that represents a step-change in affordability. This device, which is the first ever Vodacom-branded device, was designed specifically to make it possible for more South Africans than ever before get access to the internet.
“At the moment only 27% of people living in South Africa’s emerging markets have access to smart devices. We aim to double that number in the next year. The Smart Kicka is not only affordable, coming in at around the US$50 level, but also offers the best from a technology perspective. Put simply it gives users the best possible internet experience without breaking the bank,” said Phil Patel, Vodacom’s Chief Commercial officer.
The Vodacom Smart Kicka, which is priced at R549, runs the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system and has over 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory, a 3.5” screen and a two mega-pixel camera. The device will also come with five free 50 megabyte (MB) Power Bundles to get people connected straight away.
“By including Power Bundles we’re making it easy for first time internet users to experience the web – whether it’s downloading music or catching up with friends on Facebook,” said Patel.
Launched in March 2014, Power Bundles have been hugely popular with around half of all prepaid usage now stemming from bundles. Vodacom currently sells around 40 million bundles per month which give prepaid and Top Up customers bite size, time-based access to Vodacom’s network. Power Bundles include 10 minutes of airtime for R2, 60 minutes of airtime for R4 and 50 MB of data for R3. All of the bundles can be accessed by dialling *111# and are available for purchase in stores.
“Our strategy is to provide customers, particularly those on tight budgets, with exactly what they need, when they need it, and at a price they can afford. Much has been said about bringing down prices for those consuming large amounts of voice and data, but this bundle strategy is the key to driving internet penetration for all South Africans. The success of Power Bundles as well as our other bite-size voice services, like Power Hour, has meant that quite literally millions of people are now able to access services that used to be out of reach,” said Patel.
By actively reducing data prices and through new initiatives like Power Bundles, Vodacom has brought down the average effective price per MB of data by 30% over the past year. This has resulted in a 70% increase in data traffic on its network, with over 52% of Vodacom’s 32.5 million South African customers now using data.
On top of providing affordable products and devices, Vodacom is also investing heavily in its network to ensure that its new internet users have a seamless online experience. This year alone Vodacom plans to invest upwards of R9 billion in its South Africa network. A large portion of this has been earmarked to provide 3G coverage in emerging markets across South Africa.
“Our strategy is very simple. We aim to have 3G coverage wherever we have voice coverage,” said Patel.
For more on the Vodacom Smart Kicka and Vodacom’s strategy watch the interview between Aki Anastasiou and Phil Patel –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJIxQtDT6nk&feature=youtu.be
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