TNM launches first low-cost KaiOS-enabled 4G phone in Malawi

Integrated mobile network and ICT services provider TNM Plc, has partnered with KaiOS Technology to launch the most affordable 4G enabled smartphone in Malawi.

Priced at K24 999 the TNM Smart 4G will come with a value back offer of K28 000 worth of bonuses in six months comprising 500MBs, 150SMSs and free Caller Tune every month making it the most affordable 4G device in the history of mobile internet in Malawi.

The phone will offer customers access to essential and popular apps such as WhatsApp, Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook, and many other applications unique to kaiOS, the Smart 4G allows users to benefit from high-speed internet and valuable content at their fingertips.

TNM Plc Chief Executive Officer Michiel Buitelaar said the low-priced device has been designed to suit the communication needs of people in rural areas where research has shown that affordability and inadequate digital literacy pose barriers to accessing essential mobile internet services.

Kazako showing the newly launched smartphone

“The introduction of affordable smart feature phones is part of our ongoing programme to provide more people with access to the internet and content that is genuinely useful.  These devices will help our people to increase their knowledge both during the COVID-19 crisis and for years to come. This in turn will help our country’s future economic prosperity,” he said.

The CEO said the 4G phone will help in the dissemination of timely and accurate information on COVID-19 at a time when cases are escalating and the United Nations has warned of disastrous effects on the least developed countries, which include Malawi.

To address low digital literacy issues, Buitelaar said the KaiOS phone comes with an easy-to-use interface, an in-house app called Life; which facilitates digital skills training and educational content. As well as access to Google Assistant that allows first-time internet users to use voice to easily navigate and connect with the digital world.

“Smart 4G runs on a Mediatek MT6731 chipset, enabling 4G connectivity and other smartphone-like features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. It has a 2.4” display, 4GB of storage (expandable to 32GB via microSD) and boasts a powerful battery which enables extended 8 hours of talk time,” he said.

Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies, said as the first company to make KaiOS smart feature phones available in Malawi, the launch cements TNM’s reputation as a pioneer in offering new services that help improve the lives of the country’s people and increases economic prosperity.

“We will work with TNM to ensure that our devices carry content that is relevant and useful to the people of Malawi,” he said.

For his part, Information Minister Gospel Kazako commended TNM Plc for taking the step to introduce an Ultra-Low-Cost Smartphone which he said that will in the long-term help make mobile Internet affordable in Malawi.

“The quest by TNM Plc to make mobile internet affordable could not have come at any better time. They have taken a long view by investing significantly in a 4G mobile internet network that has transformed the TNM network into one of the most reliable Internet service providers in Malawi,” he said.