Local brand targets smartphone expansion

Cape Town - South African brand AG Mobile has ambitious plans to expand its market share of smartphones.

The company, which has produced smartphones since 2006, is racing ahead with the production of devices in the mid-tier segment.

"There's big convergence from the low to the mid-tier markets. Mid is understanding smartphones better - so there's a lot of consumer growth from feature phone to smart phone growth here," AG Mobile CEO and founder Anthony Goodman told Fin24.

Goodman began selling refurbished cellphones in SA in 1994 before expanding to producing devices under his own brand.

He said that consumers demand lower priced smartphones without compromising on features.

"They are looking for better quality and affordability and that’s what we’re offering - better quality, affordable smart phones in this area - better specifications."

AG Mobile devices are sold by PEPcell, among other retailers. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

AG Mobile has partnered with retailers like Pepkor, Massmart, Edcon and Woolworths to sell its phones in a bid to give rivals serious competition, said Goodman.

"As is evident in our market share at retailers like Pep (where we hold between the top and 2nd percentage of marketing share) we are already taking them on.

"We also have devices up and down the price spectrum," he added.

According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphones priced in the $100 and $200 bracket saw the highest growth in developing countries, contributing to 83% expansion of the smartphone market in Africa and the Middle East.

Expansion plan

As part of the company's expansion plan, AG Mobile has partnered with Cell C, Telkom Mobile and MTN to sell smartphones.

However, AG Mobile joins a crowded South African market where international manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei, LG, Microsoft and others all have devices across the price spectrum.

The company, though, is tackling this space after it recently launched its new Ghost smartphone which is presented with a free cover, car charger power bank. Goodman said that the extras differentiate the company from rivals in the mid tier segment.

"We differentiate by using different colours and materials for example, perforated back covers, leather covers, etc. These are typically inter-changeable which will give options to the consumer. We work closely with the R&D (research and development) department of our manufacturer to produce extremely unique IDs, tooling and moulding."

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