A huge increase of smartphones shipped into Uganda in 2020

A major increase of smartphones shipped into Uganda in 2020 by a wide margin has been cited compared to feature and basic phones. According to a UCC report, the shipments of smartphones grew by 500,000 units in the last quarter of 2020. This growth in smartphone shipments can be attributed to a number of factors.

Basic mobile phones are limited to voice calls and text messages, feature phones have limited browsing capability and smartphones are more advanced with stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which facilitate wider software, internet.

Also read: How you can avoid falling victim to substandard devices

UCC report shows an increase of smartphones shipped into Uganda in 2020

As the pandemic surged throughout 2020, a lot of activities were shifted to digital spaces and the need for reliable information was greater than ever. As the world faced a never-before-seen crisis, relying on the internet for information became the new standard.

This encouraged increased digital penetration in Uganda as information about the virus could mostly be found online which included signs and symptoms of the virus that people should look out for. Since basic and feature phones have limited functionality when it comes to accessing the internet, people were forced to buy smartphones that have full access to the internet and an endless possibility of applications.

Citing misinformation that had also become a pandemic of its own, people required internet access and phones that had this ability in order to be aware of the actual facts surrounding the virus.

The basic phones or what we all know as button phones seemingly had fewer shipments according to UCC’s report as shipment contracted by 700,000 units which could be because people had very little use for them at a time when the world was relying on the internet for many services like education, health, and access to other basic needs.

This just goes ahead to show that the pandemic surely shaped the world in many different ways with both negative and positive impacts. Despite the high costs of smartphones, a number of Ugandans had to find ways to adapt.

When it comes to increased mobile penetration, it’s impossible to overlook the efforts made by telecom companies to increase smartphone penetration as part of their efforts to increase the number of Ugandans who use the internet.

Read also: Why you cannot afford to miss out on MTN’s new device payment plan

Telecom companies strategies increased smartphone shipments

MTN Uganda launched the Pay Mpola Mpola plan that would allow her customers to get smartphones purchased in MTN shops on credit. With this financing initiative, a certain amount is paid upfront and the customers can take the phones for use as they pay over a certain period of time.

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Credit: pctechmag.com

Airtel Uganda launched the Kwata Essimu initiative in March this year after teaming up with Samsung and Mastercard. A number of Samsung phones can be bought on credit from Airtel service shops and customers pay in instalments over a stipulated period of time.

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Uganda Communications Commission reports that internet subscriptions have also increased. At the end of December 2020, the number of active internet subscriptions had grown to 21.4 million translating into an internet access reach of more than 1 active connection for every 2 Ugandans.

Read more: Airtel Kwata Essimu initiative will let customers get phones on credit

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