With the introduction of the IDEOS in Kenya, Android is set to make inroads onto the very profitable but undeserved African market of over 850m people. If I was in charge of running a GSM network here, I could make a lot of profits simply riding on the back of Android. Here is how.
You see, the mobile phone has moved from the stage of just a hello gadget to a total service delivery platform. Also, the mobile phone is the sole medium of accessing the internet for a majority of people. A look at the demographics of mobile phone service users in my country for instance, suggests that the majority are the youth who are into “cool stuff,” those who will be willing to pay for better phones beyond Java ones.
Now if I run a GSM network, I’d go into an agreement with any of the Chinese handset manufacturers who have the economies of scale to produce smartphones at reasonable prices preloaded with Android, cutting down on any licensing hassles.
Then, target the youth who are very technology savvy by selling the phone to them through a contract service as is done elsewhere. That’s it. Do not sell the phones for cash upfront but rather spread the cost over a given period, say a year and let the buyers pay through the airtime they buy.
I am yet to meet anyone here who’d not want to buy such a phone under such a plan. Back that up with an intensive media blitz and you will be on your way to becoming the Apple of Africa. There currently is one network that has this plan but unfortunately sells the Sony Ericsson Xperia with Windows Mobile, and the terms of payment are also not that favorable.
Android has a great potential to expand here and also rake in lots of profits for handset manufacturers and service networks. Which of them will blaze the path?