Honor makes play for SA’s postpaid market

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 24 Aug 2023

Chinese smartphone brand Honor, which re-entered the South African market in 2021, is gunning for 15% of the local postpaid market by year-end.

So said Honor SA’s Fred Zhou, speaking last night at the local Honor 90 series launch event, in Johannesburg.

The smartphone maker unveiled the Honor 90 5G and Honor 90 Lite, its latest smartphone line-up for the local market. The devices were first announced at a regional launch in Dubai last month.

Zhou said the brand has achieved a few milestones within the last two years, noting that Honor achieved 200% year-on-year growth in the first half (H1) of 2023, compared to H1 2022.

“We have big ambitions for South Africa,” he stated. “At the end of the year, for Honor South Africa, our target is to achieve 15% postpaid market share in December.

“We have a lot of future growth plans. We want to provide more choice for consumers and will intensify our ecosystem in South Africa with more products. Right now, we know that consumers want to experience different kinds of products, including wearables, tablets and earbuds.”

Zhou pointed out that Honor’s extended product offering will be available to consumers in the country from September and quarter four onwards.

Data from ICASA’s State of ICTSector Report, released in March 2022, shows prepaid subscriptions far outweigh postpaid subscriptions in the country.

The Honor 90 5G and Honor 90 Lite smartphones were launched to a South African audience last night.
The Honor 90 5G and Honor 90 Lite smartphones were launched to a South African audience last night.

According to the report, there were more than 86 million prepaid mobile cellular subscriptions at the end of 2021, compared to over 16 million postpaid subscriptions during the same period.

Arnold Ponela, senior research analyst at IDC, says Samsung is currently the leading smartphone vendor in the postpaid segment, followed by Huawei and Apple.

“Apple is premium and the focus is on the high-end market. Additionally, there are efforts from Oppo and Xiaomi to expand their market share in this domain. Notably, recent conversations with telcos have highlighted strong growth indicators for Honor.

“While [Honor] aiming for a 15% market share is feasible, achieving this goal may require a longer timeframe, rather than a swift accomplishment.

“Oppo is gradually shifting its focus toward the postpaid market, while Vivo maintains a satisfactory performance. The entry of Realme into the market adds another layer of competition.

“Evidently, navigating this landscape won't be an easy task, due to the presence of established players and the emerging dynamics.”

Honor spun-off from Huawei in November 2020, amid the sanctions faced by the latter in the US. Huawei decided to sell Honor to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, in an effort to save the brand.

At the time, Huawei said the sale will help Honor's channel sellers and suppliers make it through that difficult time. Under new ownership, Honor’s devices are equipped with Google Mobile Services, which are the Google apps that often come pre-installed on Android devices.

Since re-introducing its smartphones to the Southern African market, Honor has tried to carve its own path away from the shadow of its former parent company.

Last night, the smartphone maker said its Honor 90 5G and Honor 90 Lite will be available from networking channel partners MTN, Telkom and Vodacom in September.

The Honor 90 5G features a 200MP ultra-clear camera, 50MP selfie camera, 5 000mAh battery, 66W super charge, as well as artificial intelligence technology.

The device has 512GB storage capacity and 19GB (12+7) RAM.

The Honor 90 Lite features a rear 100MP triple camera system, 6.7-inch edgeless display, 13GB (8+5) RAM + 256GB storage capacity and 4 500mAh battery.

The Honor 90 5G and Honor 90 Lite will sell at a recommended retail price of R14 999 and R7 999, respectively.

To view a video of unboxing the Honor 90 5G, click here.