Afrihost to launch own smartphone

Internet service provider Afrihost, which is currently the subject of an acquisition by mobile operator MTN, has announced it intends selling its own smartphone and offering early adopters 12GB of “free” data when they buy one. The phone, the Zest T1, which costs R1 999 once-off, will come with 1GB/month of data for a year, according to CEO Gian Visser. The phone will go on sale on 18 June. Data does not roll over from month to month.

The service provider says it polled its customers to find out how much they’d be prepared to pay for a smartphone and the average price they provided was about R3 500. Interestingly, the Zest T1 is a dual-Sim phone — meaning consumers can insert two Sim cards and migrate between them for the best deals. Vodacom and MTN have both historically shied away from ranging dual-Sim phones in the South African market. According to Afrihost, customers can use their existing Sims for voice calls, while using the Afrihost data Sim in the second slot.

The phone has a 1,3GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera, a 4,5-inch multi-touch screen, micro SD card slot, integrated GPS, 8GB of storage, 1GB of RAM and Bluetooth 4.0. Screen pixel density is 245ppi. The phone, which weighs 165g, also has a built-in FM radio and supports Wi-Fi up to the speedy 802.11n variant. The phone also supports 3G connections up to 21,6Mbit/s. The battery is 1 600mAh. The Zest T1 ships with Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Last month, Afrihost revealed that MTN is to acquire a controlling 50% stake in the company for an undisclosed sum.

The existing shareholders, including management, will retain the remaining 50% of the company. In the past couple of years, Afrihost has worked closely with MTN, with the telecoms operator providing the company with bandwidth and infrastructure for its fixed-line ADSL clients. More recently, it has launched highly competitive mobile data deals on the back of MTN’s network. Afrihost was formed in 2000 as a Web hosting and IT services company by Visser, Brendan Armstrong and Peter Meintjies. The trio was later joined by Greg Payne, who is Internet Solutions’ former chief operating officer. In 2009, Afrihost entered the broadband ADSL space and, through aggressive pricing plans, caused a stir in the market. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media

This article was first published on TechCentral by Duncan McLeod:


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