82% of Kenyans Have Mobile Phones, Smartphone Uptake Is The Surprising One

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Ascend P7
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Ownership of mobile phones in Kenya is at 82%, and the interesting fact here is that only 19% of this is smartphones. In a day and age where developed markets have already hit mote than 50 percentage points in smartphone adoption, we have quite some miles to do. This obviously means there is quite a huge market for smartphone vendors to position themselves and get their products as the preferred ones. This came out at Huawei Ascend P7 launch last evening in Nairobi, Kenya as Huawei CEO Dean Yu read out his speech.

Huawei’s flagship smartphone of 2014 got launched on Wednesday in Nairobi, making this the second country in Africa to launch the smartphone. Ascend P7 was announced on may 7th in Paris, France and was made available in 30 countries a month later. As of yesterday the phone had been launched in 50 countries globally according to David Warui, Senior Manager, Terminals at Huawei Technologies Kenya.

Read Huawei Ascend P7 Review


Huawei is quite proud of the Ascend P7 and believes it stands a huge potential to propel the Chinese brand to greater heights within the smartphone market. The Ascend P6 sold 4 million units as at last month and Huwei has set 12 million as the 1 year sales target. The company is currently ranking third after Samsung and Apple going by IDC data of smartphone market-share globally, they shipped 13.4 million in the first quarter up from 10 million a similar quarter the previous year.

Read: Huawei Ascend P7 product information and specifications.


“Competition is stiff to say the least, but Huawei is more than up to the task. We are constantly coming up with newer and ever more agile products to site today’s consumers who are people always on the move but at the same time need to be in touch with each other,” said Dean Yu.

The Ascend P7 will sell with Safaricom and is already at the shops where the first 500 customers get the phone plus a free cover, Bluetooth Speaker and Power Bank as announced by Safaricom head of Retail, Janet Atika. The price is Kshs 55,000.

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8 COMMENTS


  1. This strengthens my long held belief that none of these device manufacturers is doing enough to attract new smartphone owners. The so-called budget devices in the market currently bar the Lumia 52p are very expensive and hardly offer any value for money. This is the right time for a 2014 edition of the Huawei IDEOS (the 2011 edition forget its poorly crafted successor). The 2011 IDEOS had good specs, ran the latest (stock) Android and was favourably priced. The imposition of VAT for phones doesn’t help matters as it means we can no longer have such a juicy 7k-8k offer again but the 10-15k smartphones don’t even cut it. There’s work to be done.


  2. Smart-phones offer good value for money but not in all situations, for most people they cost too much to buy and maintain, are too delicate and power hungry and only offer a minimal advantage over a feature phone.

    For smart-phones to catch on, they need to get cheaper, handle a typical Kenyans day to day usage without “dying” and be usable in a market where mains electricity is NOT widespread or cheap.

    We are making strides in that direction [ prices keep getting lower ] but power consumption and ruggedness are ignored, hopefully manufacturers of devices marketed at the third world will enter this market and start designing devices and services that are not simply redirected from the first world


    • Said that right, at the low end where people care more about battery life and want it for days, there isn’t so much to talk about, so the feature phones mean so much for users out of the electricity grid.

      Another thing would be 3G vs 2G coverage, doesn’t make much sense to have a smartphone on an edge connection, you know!


      • Glad that someone agrees with me … but I have to dis-agree about the 2G/3G issue.

        While I love having the latest and greatest tech [ I wish ALL smart-phones came with 4G LTE ] I appreciate how picking a 2G chip-set lowers prices for the manufacture and in the end the consumer. provided that the other alternative data access modes [ Wifi particularly ] are not hobbled, I can live very well with a 2G smartphone, I base this on how I’ve configured my 3G capable device to only use EDGE, saves me data charges and my battery lasts longer. That … and the fact that outside of MAJOR urban areas, 3G coverage is spotty.

        I cannot expect that others will see things my way, but I think having a 3G Wifi router is a better deal anyway, If you can find a reasonably priced one [ there is a Tecno “Kabambe 3G” from safaricom that should have such capabilities for KES 3000/- ]
        as it allows you to easily share a 3G [ some will even do 4G and WiMax ] connection among several people/devices without draining your phones battery.

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