Vodacom South Africa yesterday used Twitter to reveal that it will be soon launching Apple’s iPhone 4S in the South African market. The device which is an improvement of the iPhone 4 is the first to have the Siri intelligent assistant. Vodacom revealed that it will be launching the iPhone 4S on 16 December 2011 in South Africa.
MTN later revealed that they will also be launching the device on 16th December while also saying that they will soon be announcing the pricing for the device.
We sought to know from sources within Orange and we were told that Kenya might only see iPhone 4S in early January or later. Sourcing for devices meant for Orange network is done through France Telecom headquarters. France Telecom lost its exclusive rights to distribute Apple’s iPhone in France but still maintain exclusive rights in greater parts of Africa and Middle East. The mobile operator is not as enthusiastic as it should be about the launch of iPhone 4S locally. I believe this is due to the fact that the uptake in Kenya through Orange has been very dismal.
I however believe that Orange Kenya should be more enthusiastic now that they have a 3G network as opposed to before when subscribers were tied to Orange’s EDGE network for 2 year period. Apple’s iPhone is not some device you will appreciate when your network is EDGE/GPRS. You need a 3G network and above to fully appreciate the value of an iPhone.
Orange is reported to have sold just around 500 iPhones 4 in Kenya since launch while a greater number is sold through the grey market as they mostly come unlocked to be used on any network while also a little bit cheaper than the ones sold through Orange Kenya.
Apple touts the iPhone 4S as having improved battery life, Siri voice assistant, better camera (8 megapixel with 1080p video recording), and 14.4Mbps HSPA.
Vodacom South Africa is allowing prospective buyers of iPhone to “pre-register” for the device while not giving any pricing range.