NAIROBI, Kenya


Kenya’s cellphones market will never be the same again with the launch of an entry-level smartphone by TECNO that is billed to be the answer to Samsung’s S3. TECNO PHANTOM, a stylish Android-powered handset, comes with a number of features that have made it a big hit in a market where such smartphones come at a higher price.

TECNO PHANTOM has a 5.0’’ high-definition touch screen, super slim body at 9.1mm, a metal edge and slim frame. These are features that play a major role in the choice of a smartphone brand. Another plus for the PHANTOM is the dual-SIM card capability, with both slots capable of using 3G networks for both call and data. Also it comes with 8MP back camera with auto focus and LED flash as well as a 1.2MP front camera, which allows the user to make HD video call and provide a clear view of himself during the call.

All this elegance comes at just Sh20,000, less than half the price of most smartphones in the market. Samsung’s high-end brands go for as much as Sh60,000, while Nokia’s Lumia smartphone retails at above Sh40,000.

“We are empowering consumers to buy a quality phone, and not a brand name or marketing strategy,” said Mr Boukali Mounir, the PR and marketing Manager for TECNO, the fastest growing mobile phone brand in Africa. “We want more people to enjoy the luxury of smartphones.”

So how does TECNO get it so right in pricing? “Our marketing strategy relies mostly on consumer relations, which makes our product cheaper compared to others who have huge marketing budgets that are passed on to the end-users,” Mr Mounir says.

TECNO is bullish in taking the fight to the doorstep of its rivals. Samsung is the market leader in the smartphones market, followed by other brands while Nokia is struggling to catch-up after it focused too long on low-end phones.

TECNO is already doing well in the low-end market, where it has given the big boys a run for their money. Now it wants a piece of the affluent pie. “Before we were competing with Nokia,” said Mr Mounir. “Now we are taking on Samsung. And we are coming with dual-SIM first to help users separate business and social contacts and eliminate the burden of having two phones.”

THINKING GLOBAL, ACTING LOCAL

“The difference with our competitor is that it thinks global and acts global,” he adds. “At TECNO, we think globally and act locally. That’s why we are conscious of the price and power.”

TECNO PHANTOM also comes with a power bank, or a mini-charger that will keep the phone powered in areas with no electricity. This is such a winner in Kenya, where many rural areas do not have power and those with power experience outages lasting at times more than two days.

As PHANTON enters this competitive market, analysts will be keen on how price and quality will combine to attract buyers for TECNO. But one thing is certain: PHANTOM is a great innovation from TECNO SMART division, which is populated with a new team of engineers from France and other parts of the world.

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