Digicel launches its own smartphone
Steven Jackson, Business Reporter
Starting next month, mobile provider Digicel Group will sell its own Android smartphone, the Digicel DL600, in an apparent attempt to grow and monetise Internet usage.
It's Digicel's first branded phone using the Android operating system developed by large US-based search provider Google, but not the first mobile phone to wear the telecoms' brand. The first were issued six years ago.
"While this is the first Android smartphone to be branded Digicel, we also released the Coral range of handsets in 2007," said Group Commercial Director, Brian Finn in response to Financial Gleaner queries sent via its communications department.
Alcatel, a Chinese and French joint venture will manufacture the DL600, which will retail for less than US$100 (less than J$10,000). Mobile smartphones in Jamaica currently sell within a range of about J$10,000 to over J$100,000.
"The DL600 smartphone will be added to our current distribution of handsets across our retail channels in each market," Finn said.
The DL600 will retail in all 31 markets in which Digicel operates.
"The Digicel smartphone DL600 marries a great and fully loaded Android handset with a great price. It will retail for under US$100 across all our markets making it the most accessible smartphone around," he said.
With the continuing rollout of its 4G and LTE networks across the Caribbean and Central America, Digicel's sights are firmly set on ensuring that everyone everywhere can benefit from access to "superfast Internet speeds at affordable prices and achieve extraordinary things in their everyday lives," said a release on the new smartphone.
Digicel sidestepped queries on whether the device was aimed at raising the monthly average spend of consumers. Locally, consumers spend under J$2,500 a month with Internet penetration at some one-quarter of the population, industry data indicates.
"It's all about Digicel making the 4G experience affordable and accessible to all with the launch of this new and affordable Android smartphone," said Finn.
"To ensure that as many people have access to the Digicel 4G experience using the DL600, the handset will be available to both prepaid and postpaid customers in all 31 markets," he said.
The smartphone DL600 features a large 3.5 inch display, the latest version of the popular Android OS (Jellybean 4.1), and a 1Ghz processor. The phone is 4G capable with speeds of 7.2 Mbps.
Finn said the phone is ideally suited to the youth market, who want to be connected via messaging, social media, and other lifestyle and information apps.