Kenya launches its first local smartphone assembly plant

Kenya launches its first local smartphone assembly plant

East Africa Device Assembly Kenya (EADAK) Limited has opened this week. It’s Kenya’s first local smartphone assembly plant.

The significance of the launch didn’t evade the political classes or senior telecoms executives. President William Ruto unveiled the new plant on Monday. Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa also attended the unveiling.

Of course Safaricom has a direct interest in EADAK. As we reported in June, operators Safaricom and Jamii Telecommunication have partnered with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Shenzhen TeleOne Technology to locally manufacture smartphones. The new facility has the capacity to produce up to three million mobile phones each year.

According to ITWeb Africa, the devices will be accessible nationwide at Faiba shops (Jamii Telecommunications offers broadband and mobile services under the Faiba brand) and dealer stores, as well as Safaricom stores. It will also be available via Masoko, an online marketplace that offers buyers a wide variety of phones and accessories.

The 4G-enabled Smarta and Ultra mobile phone handsets will be the anchor devices at launch, with other devices planned for the coming months, including a locally made tablet. The first devices will cost $50.

EADAK Chairman Joshua Chepkwony, quoted by ITWeb Africa, said: “This assembly plant will contribute to the government’s agenda of increasing digital inclusion in the country. We were able to achieve affordability through a collaborative strategy that included business partnerships and beneficial government regulations.”

President William Ruto revealed plans to produce smartphones locally in December 2022 and gave his government a 12-month deadline to deliver affordable smartphones to the Kenyan market. It’s not yet clear when the first devices will reach retail but it looks like they won’t be far off that deadline.

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