$50 Android Smartphones Are Disrupting Africa Much Faster Than You Think, Says Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales


What phone does Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales have in his pocket? An unlocked Android-powered 3G smartphone, made by Chinese mobile maker Huawei – which was selling for $85 on the streets of Kenya last year and now goes for $50.

While the majority of Africa’s mobile phones are more basic talk-plus-text feature phones — recent figures from analyst ABI Research suggest 3G connectivity accounts for 11 percent of the continent’s overall mobile subscriptions vs. 2G’s 62.7 percent — 300,000 of these $50 Android smartphones have been sold in Kenya, according to Wales and African carrier Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore. The pair were speaking at Vodafone’s Mobile for Good summit taking place in London today.

“What I always thought about mobile in Africa…is this [smartphone adoption] is coming in the future — in the future someday,” said Wales. “Well the someday’s happening faster than I ever realised.”

Wales’ own budget Android was…

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