Plans to supply Africa with low-cost 5G handsets by year-end
As it continues to push for the roll out and adoption of 5G networks in Africa, Huawei Technologies has confirmed plans to help supply the continent with 5G handsets, at an average baseline price of US$150, by year-end.
The company said it will join various manufacturers to ready at least 400 types of 5G smartphones for the African market by the end of this year, but stopped short of mentioning which manufacturers were on board.
Several African countries, including Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia, are planning to roll out 5G networks, but acknowledge the cost of the handsets remains a challenge.
Sources within Huawei have told ITWeb Africa that the company has realised that the adoption and making of 5G networks more accessible in Africa will rely on the number of devices available.
Speaking to the media during a Huawei virtual exhibition, hosted by Galileo Hall, a 5G exhibition area in China in October, Maggie Cai, senior public relations manager at Huawei confirmed the African market will have US$150 5G handsets by year-end this year.
Regarding concerns over the safety of 5G technology and any potential impact that this could have on adoption, Cai said, “People are concerned about the safety of 5G technology. It’s an allegation that has been politicised.”
Louis Katongo Mwape from Huawei Zambia’s public relations department stressed that it is not necessarily that Huawei is going to make all those types of smartphones and added: “We mean that the four hundred is a composition of various phone manufacturers and that is the projection.”
Mwape said just like any corporate organisation, Huawei will continue to work with policymakers in the region, partners and financial institutions to drive digital inclusivity and make smartphones more affordable to different African communities.
“In as much as some handsets may cost as low as US$150, others may cost less while others may cost more than that. Therefore, it is important to understand that the US$150 price may not be across the board. There is not going to be a universal standard price for all the said phones,” Mwape said.
Details remain sketchy and Huawei could not confirm how many handsets will be produced, when exactly they will be made available or which African countries will be first in line to receive the devices.