Supplied

  • Huawei has launched its flagship P40 and P40 Pro range of smartphones in SA.
  • The P40 Pro costs R20,999 and the P40 retails for R16,999.
  • The phones are now among the very small group of models available in South Africa with 5G capabilities.
  • They're not the cheapest 5G option, though.
  • For more stories, visit www.BusinessInsider.co.za


South Africa now has another smartphone range in the still small group able to use ultrafast 5G networks gradually coming online.

Huawei has launched its new flagship range of smartphones, the P40 and the P40 Pro. The smartphones will be available from Monday, 1 June.

The P40 will retail for R16,999 while the top-end P40 Pro will retail for R20,999.

Amongst other improvements the Pro has a larger screen, a bigger battery and a better camera.

The phones are available from all networks, and the Huawei online store.

If the flagship models are out of reach, Huawei already launched the mid-range P40 Lite phone in SA in May. However, the P40 Lite, which costs R6,499, is not 5G compatible, unlike its more powerful siblings.

See also: Huawei’s new smartphone launches in SA this month – without Google apps

That means users who want to use 5G networks on their phones now have a choice of three phones available through formal channels, with support, in South Africa – the two flagship Huawei devices, and the LG V50 ThinQ, which is available from Vodacom for R13,499, or R699 a month over 24 months.

South African network operators have struggled to get access to the necessary radio frequency spectrum for 5G. Vodacom, which is the only operator so far to offer smartphone 5G services, essentially used a "back-door" to enable the service. Data-only network Rain offers fixed 5G services only.

Huawei’s new phones don’t have the apps you’re used to – because it’s an ‘underdog’

It’s worth noting that Huawei’s new phones don’t have Google support, and do not have any of the Google apps you're used to, despite running on Google's Android operating system

Last year, the Chinese manufacturer was forced to adapt after the United States placed restrictions on Google's trade with Huawei.

That means there's no Play Store, and no pre-installed Google apps like Chrome, Maps or Gmail

Instead Huawei is hoping you'll switch to its AppGallery, which is its homebuilt replacement for Google's Play Store.

Although the store contains a broad selection of apps, including offerings from Microsoft, the apps from Instagram and Facebook are still missing.

In an online launch event for the P40, Akhram Mohamed, Huawei’s chief technology officer, acknowledged that 2020 had been a challenging year for the company. He played on the David and Goliath aspects of the US restrictions, and repeatedly compared the company to South Africa - despite Huawei being one of the largest phone manufacturers in the world.

“Like South Africans, we know what it's like to be the underdog,” he said. That means Huawei will be using its own “HMS platform to empower local entrepreneurs, local business, local talent and local technology”

“There's a barrier to entry when it comes to technology, he said. “Many South African companies, as good as they may be, just cannot compete with large multinationals and their financial resources.”

As Huawei is available in 170 countries, and had 400 million monthly active users on its App Gallery, “we are then able to take South African businesses and give them access to these markets.”

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