Seemahale Telecoms, a South African based telecoms and broadcasting infrastructure and services company, is ready to release its Android-based smartphones and tablets in the South African market.
Company founder, CEO and chairman, Thabo Lehloke, told MyBroadband recently that the devices are currently undergoing the last round of regulatory testing and are ready for pre-order.
— Tech Report (@TechReportSA) November 26, 2013
Once they have received enough orders, Seemahale will begin manufacturing the devices. They have already ordered many of the components and are engaging with mobile network operators and retailers to get them on board with the project.
The devices will be assembled and packaged in South Africa using imported, bare printed circuit (PC) boards. Lehlokoe indicated that while he would also like to source the PC boards locally, there is not currently a supplier who could handle the volumes required. “As we start selling more and more of these [smartphones, tablets], maybe there would be a business case for [local PC board manufacturers] to invest in equipment,” Lehlokoe said.
The first devices produced will be a 5-inch smartphone and a 10.1-inch tablet. They will be priced at R2,500 and R3,500 (including VAT) respectively, and will be ready to go to market from early February. Looking into the future, they plan to launch a low-cost 4-inch smartphone which will cost less than R1,200 and a 7.86-inch tablet with a dual-SIM model which will be less than R3,000.
They are hoping that these low-cost, locally produced devices will service the entry level consumer in South Africa, who has so far been denied such technology because of the prohibitive price tags.
In an interview with Reuters last year Lehlokoe said, “We want Africans to be proud that they can do this themselves, and not just be consumers of everyone else’s solutions.”