MTC sells gadgets galore at OATF

Windhoek-It is estimated that MTC made millions of dollars at the just ended Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (OATF), proving well beyond a reasonable doubt that the envisioned MTC 081Every1 Project is well on track as evidenced by the number of new feature phones and smartphones sold during the week-long show.

Over 4,600 units, which ranged from basic feature phones to high-end smartphones such as the Huawei P9 and the sibling P9 Lite, were all bought out by the public during the OATF.

MTC supplied basic feature phones such as the one often referred to by its humble name 'Okatoshe', i.e. the Mint F1, the cheapest at a cost of N$170, which proved to be popular with the public,with sales accounting for nearly 50 percent of devices on hand.

Whilst the feature phone is a common sight in rural Namibia, the market growth for smartphones has also increased exponentially according to MTC, as evidenced by the recent sale of the AG Hashtag, Hisense, STK, ZTE Blade Huawei y3, Huawei P9 and Huawei P9 Lite smartphones, which were on stock at the MTC sales booth at Ongwediva.

Studies indicate that in seven sub-Saharan Africa countries mobile phone usage has grown substantially, driving-up mobile handsets sales. Researchers have found that, on average, 15 percent of people living in those countries had a smartphone, while 65 percent still used a feature phone.

A smartphone is powered by an operating system such as Android, Apple's iOS, Windows Mobile, etc. It acts like a mini, multi-tasking computer and allows users to surf the internet and download a variety of apps, among other things.

On the other hand, feature phones are generally lower-cost devices with much more limited functionality than their smart rivals and tend to have longer battery life due to the absence of apps on the phones.

Enthused MTC chief human capital and corporate affairs officer Tim Ekandjo: In 2016 we launched the Osmartphona Campaign whose objective was to ensure that smartphone absorption, especially in peri-urban and rural Namibia, increases to ensure increased connectivity and also add to the quality of life of our rural population.

The second phase of the strategy was therefore the 100 percent population network coverage or the 081Every1 project, which we launched in July, which will provide 3G and in some instances 4G network access to rural Namibia.

So as the country's economy and access keep growing, smartphones are going to be a very important place for investment and innovation.

With network coverage still sparse in many areas, while smartphones' potential for bringing educational opportunities to rural Namibia has been much talked about, it's impossible to stream an instructional video on a smartphone if you don't have a strong enough signal to make a phone call.

Hence our strategy in the next two years to increase network capacity through the 081Every1 project, added Ekandjo.

There's no doubt that sales of smartphone handsets are on the rise as strong competition brings prices down. At MTC we will continue using the various exhibitions and trade fairs in the country as very important consumer touch points to keep introducing these new devices and ensure that we reach the goal we set out � to see that each and every Namibian is able to browse the internet through our network with a MTC procured or supplied smart device � this is what 081Every1 is all about.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia