Cairo – Egypt’s mobile tech industry looks set for a boost thanks to the launch of the country’s first domestically produced budget smartphone.
The handset, produced by local firm Sico Technology in partnership with a Chinese company, is set to hit the shelves in November.
Sico chief Mohamed Salem claims that the new 4G device will be priced from $112 (2000 EGP) placing it within reach of many middle class Egyptians previously priced out of the smartphone market.
The phone, which will also be shipped to abroad, will undoubtedly provide a welcome boost to the country’s blossoming mobile app industry.
Egyptian startups have embraced mobile technology in recent years with many firms relying heavily on mobile traffic to sell their brand.
Some experts believe that the new phone will boost the app industry while also enhancing Egypt’s image as a manufacturer of top quality hi-tech goods.
Rise-up Summit co-founder Con O’Donnell told News Agency that “A 2000 EGP smartphone in Egypt would bring a lot more potential customers for mobile apps and services.”
“The fact that it is made in Egypt, or by an Egyptian company won’t make any difference to the customer.
“However, it might have the benefit of increasing confidence in the capability of Egypt to produce good quality hi-tech goods.”
Despite this, O’Donnell is skeptical whether the device can provide real change to the mobile services market until local mobile operators catch-up with international trends.
The country’s three operators have yet to fully rollout 4G data services and the cost of data remains high compared to markets elsewhere.
“However, mobile data in Egypt is still too expensive, so the real seismic shift will happen when smartphones are ubiquitous and data is cheap,” he added.
“Then we will see a huge boost in the uptake of digital technologies overall.”