MTN's new smart phone.
  • MTN's new smart phone is due to be launched in Nigeria and South Africa at the start of next year.
  • The new phone, which offers a 3G internet connection, could cost less than R300.
  • It also has two cameras, and impressive battery life.

MTN this week announced that it will launch a super-cheap smartphone early next year, and it has some decent specifications.

The new unnamed phone will cost between $20 (R290) and $25 (R365) and offer a 3G internet connection, as well as:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • GPS for navigation
  • Two cameras (front and back)
  • Dual SIM support
  • 512MB of storage

The phone will also have a battery life of 2,000 milliampere hour (mAh)  – compared to the iPhone XS, which has a 2,658 mAh battery but costs around R24,000. The new MTN phone has a longer battery life than many other high-end smartphone models, including the iPhone 6 (1,810mAh).

MTN smart phone

Its screen is only 2.4 inch (6cm), though – less than half the size of other smartphones on the market. The Samsung Galaxy Note9, for instance, has a 6.4 inch screen, while the iPhone XS has a 5.8 inch display.

The phone will offer Google Assistant and run on the KaiOS operation system, which powers close to 50 million smart feature phones globally. Phone users will be able to access KaiStore, which offers the world’s most popular apps, as well as music and video streaming services.

The phone is powered by the UNISOC SC7731EF, a 3G smart chipset with memory of up to 256MB RAM, a fraction of what other smartphones are offering. In fact, iOS needs 2GB of RAM to work smoothly, while Android phones are also comparatively memory-hungry.

Apart from KaiOS and UNISOC, MTN is working with China’s largest telecom operator China Mobile to produce the phone. Among other things, China Mobile is helping to customise the phone. The MTN Mobile Money app will be integrated onto the phone.

The new phone will initially be launched in Nigeria and South Africa in the first quarter of 2019. 

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