Safaricom Launches Africa’s First Smartphone

What's Next In Payments®
5:44 PM EST January 24th, 2013

Safaricom and Intel have partnered to launch the first smartphone for Africa, named Yolo. The device is aimed at the growing number of cost-conscious and first-time buyers in Kenya who do not want to sacrifice device performance or user experience for cost. The Yolo smartphone will be sold in Safaricom shops countrywide at the entry price of Kshs. 10,999 and comes bundled with free 500 MB data. The phone is based on Intel’s latest smartphone platform for emerging markets, launched earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

“We’re redefining what cost-conscious Kenyans can expect from a smartphone,” said Peter Arina, general manager, Safaricom’ s Consumer Business Unit. “The Intel-based Yolo smartphone strikes a unique balance between price and performance – we consider it to be a real breakthrough. It’s great news that Kenya will be the launch country in Africa for smartphones with Intel Inside and we expect a great reception from our customers.”

“We are delighted to partner with Safaricom in bringing the first smartphone with Intel Inside to Kenyan consumers” said Aysegul Ildeniz, Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa Region. “The new handset extends the benefits of Intel technology to more smartphone users around the world and we believe that Kenyan consumers will welcome the increased functionality and overall value of the device. We look forward to our continued cooperation with Safaricom.”

The launch of a low-cost smartphone in Africa could mean an evolution in the already-developed mobile market in the continent. A switch from feature phones to smartphones could also mean a switch in the way African use their phones to pay.

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