Orange has announced a new affordable smartphone called the Sanza touch. The smartphone, which is exclusively available through Orange, will cost $30 and runs 4G Android (Go edition), it is among the more affordable smartphones globally.

The telecommunications company has said that with the launch of the Sanza touch it hopes to drive digital inclusion and provide more people access to mobile internet given the smartphone's relative affordability.

"Orange wants to strongly accelerate access to connectivity on the African continent. One of the barriers to Internet use is the price and ease of use of most smartphones. The partnership with Google to offer the Sanza touch smartphone for sale will enable us to solve this problem thanks to its affordable price and advanced functionalities. While 90% of the world's population is now covered by mobile broadband, 3,3 billion people who live in areas covered by mobile broadband remain unconnected for reasons such as affordability, low levels of literacy, and digital skills," said Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa.

Bridging the digital divide with affordable smartphones

Although Africa continues to record an increasing number of new mobile phone subscribers and internet users, the numbers are still relatively low. According to the recently released The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 202 Report by GSMA only 272 million people in Africa have access to mobile internet, representing 26% of the continent's population.

One of the key factors fuelling the widening digital divide in Africa is the cost of mobile phones. It is reported that the average cost of an entry-level smartphone in Africa exceeds 60% of average monthly income. This makes smartphones mostly inaccessible for the majority of Africans.

These statistics are partly why Orange believes the $30 price point of the Sanza touch will likely make it the most accessible smartphone on the African market.

Affordable entry-level smartphone for the African market

The Sanza touch comes with the Payjoy application which allows customers to pay for their smartphone over several installments depending on availability in their country. This is somewhat similar to the partnership announced by Safaricom and Google in Kenya.

The entry-level smartphone by Orange has a 4” screen, 8GB memory, and a 1750mAh battery, offering over 4 hours of battery life while streaming videos. Customers can use the Orange app collection (My Orange, Orange Money, and Livescreen to stay informed on the latest news trends) and access the most popular apps including YouTube Go, Google Go, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

The Sanza range was first launched in April 2019 in 13 countries [2] in Africa and the Middle East, making it easier for many customers to come online for the first time and discover the benefits of connectivity.

"Our mission at Google has always been to "Organise the world's information and make it universally accessible to everyone". We deliver this mission through the building and providing our products and services via key partnerships like this one with Orange. We are excited about the endless possibilities this Sanza touch smartphone will present in learning, economic opportunities, and digital accessibility. The Goal of our Android devices, including this first-of-its-kind highly affordable Android (Go edition) device, is to bring the power of computing equitably to all. We can only achieve this mission if everyone can access devices at affordable price points to use in their daily lives and have access to the benefits presented by the digital world," said Mariam Abdullahi – Director, Platform Partnerships, Android, and Play – Africa for Google.

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