Airtel Africa has partnered with South Korean device maker, Samsung, and Mastercard to provide customers will smartphones on flexible payment plans. Airtel Customers will Soon Acquire Samsung Smartphones under Flexible Financing Plans.
Airtel customers across 14 markets, including Kenya, will acquire Samsung phones by paying a percentage of the cost upfront, then distributing the remaining cash in monthly instalments, up to 12 months.
The project will first kick off in Uganda this month, subject to regulatory approvals. Following Uganda will be Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, DRC, Gabon, Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Chad, Niger, and Congo Brazzaville.
Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said, “This innovative partnership will help Airtel feature phone customers upgrade to smartphones and pay with Airtel Money on flexible instalment plans. This opens up the digital economy and creates additional opportunities for Africa’s entrepreneurs.”
Airtel’s serial competitor, Safaricom, also launched a similar program in June in partnership with Google dubbed Lipa Mdogo Mdogo.
Through Lipa Mdogo Mdogo, Safaricom customers that use 2G feature phones can upgrade to a smartphone by paying a 1000 bob upfront, followed by daily payments of Ksh 20 for nine months straight. Their plan is limited, though.
Only one phone model is available under their program and you must be an existing network subscriber using a feature phone. That left all users who thought they could lean on the plan to upgrade their existing smartphones dismayed.
For Airtel’s partnership with Samsung, we are yet to know the terms and conditions of the plan, but it remains to be seen. There is no definite launch date, as well.
In the past, Samsung has also partnered with third-party providers like Lipa, enabling customers to acquire phones with flexible financing in Kenya.
Driving digital inclusion through Pay-on-Demand services
Besides the flexible smartphone financing plan, Airtel Africa has also partnered with Samsung, Mastercard, and Asante Financial Services Group (Asante) to launch a Pay-on-Demand payments platform touted at driving digital inclusion in Africa.
Mastercard claims the platform will help under-served consumers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) access convenient financing opportunities.
Using the product will help both consumers and entrepreneurs establish a digital transaction history that can be leveraged to access different financial solutions, like credit, savings, investments, and insurance.
The firms say Pay-on-Demand users will also access digital payments through Mastercard’s virtual card and Mastercard Quick Response (QR Codes) functionality on the Airtel mobile money app. Thus, enabling them to make digital transactions both face to face and online.