Fly, Infinix and Tecno to launch budget LTE smartphones in Kenya


Tecno Boom J7 Fly Eclipse 3 Fly Mobile, as we told you earlier, is one of the mobile device brands that are keen on gaining a significant share of the Kenyan market. According to Safaricom, there are at least 3.4 million smartphones on its network at the moment. To put things into perspective, there are over 32 million mobile phones in Kenya with close to 70% of those being on the Safaricom network. 23.2 million to be exact. Like we’ve noted before, that just tells you the huge potential that still lies untapped. Fly is looking to tap into that. As are Tecno and Infinix. Will they succeed? Time will tell.

Fly’s first presence in the Kenyan market is via online retailer Jumia. The brand’s two devices, the Fly Thunder 3 and the Fly Iris, are among several smartphones from other companies like Samsung, Microsoft, Tecno, Injoo and Infinix that are available throughout the week at discounted prices. We are not sure about the fate of the Fly Eclipse 3 which we recently previewed that we were reliably informed was to be part of the Mobile Week Megathon but is nowhere to be seen on the Jumia website.

Besides those three devices, the Fly brand will be expanding to entice more and more budget smartphone buyers with LTE smartphones. Samsung’s Galaxy J1 is currently the cheapest LTE smartphone in the Kenyan market at Ksh 14,000. According to trusted industry sources, the entry level smartphones in the Kenyan market manage to sell about 160,000 units monthly. According to Samsung Electronics East Africa Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Ngeru, the Galaxy J1 is its best selling of all devices in the market at the moment managing to hit highs of about 500 units sold in a day. With LTE and favourable pricing being what gets the Galaxy J1’s into most customer’s good books, Fly has its eyes set on that category.

In September this year, the new entrant to the Kenyan mobile device market will be unveiling at least two budget LTE smartphones priced in the Ksh 12,000-18,000 range. Not to be left behind, Tecno, which currently holds a significant share of the overall mobile phone market in Kenya after Samsung, is also prepping its own budget LTE offering. According to the information we have, the device will be available at first exclusively through mobile carrier Safaricom with further arrangements set to be announced later. Infinix which has made a name for itself thanks to devices like the Hot Note which have been selling exclusively via Jumia, is also in the race and will be introducing an LTE smartphone, the Infinix Zero 2.

While there’s still focus on other things like the memory and battery life when it comes to what the Kenyan consumer considers when purchasing smartphones, LTE capability looks set to be the next battlefront in the quest to win over customers and eventually a significant share of the Kenyan smartphone market. Safaricom has already covered a significant percentage of the city LTE-wise and is looking forward to expanding LTE coverage to 13 more towns in Kenya.

Jumia Whitepaper Data
Battery life tops the priority list of most smartphone buyers in Kenya.


For the likes of Samsung, with a strong headstart in devices like the Galaxy J1 at the entry level and the Galaxy S6 at the high end market segment, LTE is all about cementing its hold of the market. With rumours of the imminent launch of the Galaxy J2 not being in short supply, they won’t be letting the Tecnos, Flys and Infinixes have a go at them easily. For the latter, it is a chance to appeal to an even broader segment of the market and disrupt the market like they have done with incredibly low prices.

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Emmanuel writes on mobile hardware, software and platforms.