Great. iPhone 4S is available in Kenya from today but Apple’s choice of using Orange Kenya to market it in Kenya is a big mistake. Orange Kenya way of doing things is still based on the early years when the Telekom Kenya was entirely owned by the Government.
Sometime back in December last year, I went to Orange Kenya customer care office at the GPO to inquire about the iPhone 4. It took me 30 minutes to get someone to talk to and then he could not give me the information i was looking for. I wanted basic information about the price of the phone and any terms and conditions involved in getting the phone. At the end I moved from one person to another and none could give me any info on the prices. So according them if I am not buying then I do not deserve to know the prices of the iPhones. It beats me on how one can plan to buy without knowing how much he/she needs to spend.
I left the place disappointed, but that explain why although iPhone brand has been the most popular smartphone in other parts of the world, in Kenya the number of people using iPhones are countable.If Apple continue using Orange Kenya as their main local network carrier, then expect little excitement about the brand locally. In terms of customer care Orange Kenya is terrible. It the same reason why Orange Kenya can’t move up their data usage numbers or subscribers despite the fact that they were better placed to take the market lead on data from the time go. According to the latest stats from CCk Orange has only 2.15 Internet market share compared to Safaricom 79.45% , Airtel 8.49 . It is funny that Orange is completely unable to increase their market share on data where they are better placed to compete while they are doing relatively well in the mobile subscription. Again the latest stats from CCK indicate that Orange increased their mobile subscribers by 16,686 to stand at 2,745,702 during the period of July to September 2011.
To the makers of the Phones. It is going to be interesting to see how they treat Kenya and other African countries. My prediction is that those who are closely involved with Kenyan community will win the hearts and souls of the mobile users, and that case I think Samsung is poised to gain big time. Nokia has all ground advantage but at the moment I am not sure whether they have the personnel to defend their market share after the departure of Dorothy Ooko and Keneth Oyolla and down grading the Nairobi Office. But with Nokia Windows phones coming in at the second quarter of this year, I think Nokia is here to stay and the competitors should be aware of that. The Nokia windows Lumia 710 is priced at $49 and that will beat all the other phones in terms affordability. Even Huawei Ideos phone at Ksh.8 000(around $100) will not match that. Huawei Ideos has had their moment on the sun but you have to agree that the phone is the low of the low end smartphones. For that, majority of people who bought ideos are now changing to other smartphones purely based on the aesthetic value. That a side when the Nokia Windows phones get here Huawei Ideos will lose their position as the cheapest smartphone in the market.
As for Apple and the iPhone brand, I would say no chance as long as they continue using Orange as their local carrier. The same applies to Blackberry, although theirs is purely due to their disconnect when comes to Kenyan operation. Making all their decision about a place like Kenya from the far land of Canada is not going to work unless they change and get the people on the ground to make the decision for the local market. Note, Blackbery does use Safaricom and not Orange
The others like LG and HTC will need to up their game if they want to have a chance in Kenya. I talked to marketing manager of LG sometime back in December and he promised that we will see more of them around and that they are ready to take on others beginning this January.
Back to iPhone 4S. It is interesting iPhone in more so because of the Siri, the virtual Assistant. With Siri you can use your voice to use your iPhone. Talk to siri like “When is the election date in Kenya 2012?” or “Where do i get kuku choma?” or “Where do i get the Mpesa?” Siri makes phone calls, sends messages, schedules meetings, sets reminders, and more.
Other features to note:
- dual-core A5 chip
- new camera with advanced optics
- full 1080p HD resolution video recording
For that, we will wait and see. So what is your view on the Apple and iPhone 4S and other phone makers?