Airtel has now teamed up with financial services company Mastercard and Samsung to kick off its first smartphone loan sale across 14 African markets including Kenya.
The service is set to begin first in Uganda from October as Airtel awaits regulatory approval. This will then be followed by a roll out to the other markets. They include Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, DRC, Gabon, Malawi, Zambia and Madagascar. Others are Seychelles, Chad, Niger and Congo Brazzaville.
Airtel subscribers across all these countries will be allowed to acquire Samsung devices and pay in flexible instalments of up to 12 months.
Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa’s CEO, spoke about the programme saying, “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.”
Through the team-up with Mastercard, the telco will also allow users to access digital payments through Mastercard’s virtual card and Mastercard Quick Response (QR codes). All this will be possible on the Airtel mobile money apps enabling customers to make digital transactions across face-to-face and online merchants.
Additionally, the eligibility for qualifying will rely on each subscribers’ transaction history. Of course, further information on charges will be released once the service comes to Kenya later on.
It will also be interesting to see how it competes with Safaricom’s Lipa Mdogo Mdogo programme that was established in partnership with Google. This helps Kenyan users acquire smartphones by simply making daily payments as low as KES 20.
This is also not the first time Samsung has made partnerships to set up smartphone loan purchase services. The tech firm was also part of the Lipa Later service that, like the others, offers devices on instalment basis across various stores in Kenya.