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Local smartphone uptake increases

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Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) shipments of smart mobile devices rose 25% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, the Canalys EMEA Q1 2006 Smartphone Report, has shown.

The spur in growth for the EMEA region was achieved by rises of 76% in SA (double the previous year), 128% in Poland, 101% in Russia, and with markets such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE almost doubling, the research found.

The total mobile market in Europe grew by 15% to 170.4 million units last year, and much of this growth was attributed to consumer demand for feature phones and smartphones boasting rich multimedia features, an IDC study found late last year.

Market leader Nokia grabbed just over 75% of the market share and saw 41.4% growth. The highest growth (211.2%) was recorded by Qtek, a Western European player (3.4% market share), which took it past HP and Palm for the first time and making it the leading Windows Mobile vendor in the quarter.

Local distribution

Previously unknown in SA, the Qtek brand entered the local market this week, through a distribution agreement with local technology firm Broadband Communication Technologies Global (BCT).

"The existing range of smart phones includes the flagship model, the Qtek 9000, the Qtek 8310, Qtek 9100 and Qtek S200. They have been network tested and Independent Communications Authority of SA approved," says Sadiq Malik, director of BCT.

"Distribution [of the existing models] has begun to mobile operators and blue chip corporations. Newer, slimmer models will become available from September to March 2007," says Malik.

Prices range from R4 000 (for the low-end models) to R9 500 (for the high-end models), he says.

"A supporting Web site will contain product information and device support, tips for using the new devices and applications, and an online shop. Technical support will be provided through BCT`s service centre, handling repairs, usage enquiries and product advice," says Malik.

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