First National Bank (FNB) could release more of its own branded smartphones in the future, depending upon the success of the products.
FNB’s first two devices, the ConeXis A1 and X1 smartphones, were both manufactured by the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE.
Bob MinYu – who heads ZTE’s South African enterprise division – told Fin24 that ZTE first started selling smartphones in the country five years ago and had since partnered with FNB to produce the bank’s smartphones.
“The devices released with FNB are considered to be mid-tier because of the price point we chose to come in at, but the devices featured important functionality needed in a smartphone,” MinYu told Fin24.
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He added that they had partnered with FNB, saying they were “the most innovative bank offering a sophisticated service to the consumer” and that the devices produced were targeted at accommodating the mass mid-segment of the market.
“We look forward to possibly releasing more devices with FNB. Based on our working relationship, we expect these devices to do well and we will consider the next generation of devices,” he added.
Most recently, Chinese manufacturers have seen an increase in market share in South Africa with the launch of new devices from Xiaomi and Huawei.
Huawei already has 10% of the country’s smartphone market share and 50% of SA’s phablet sales.
“ZTE was never highly publicised in the country previously because our focus was on feature phones to accommodate for a mass market,” MinYu said.
He added that as a part of a global strategy, the manufacturer wanted to boost their presence in developing markets.
“We want to start associating ZTE now with smartphones instead of feature phones,” MinYu added.
The ConeXis A1, available with an FNB Easy Account, features a 4-inch display, 5 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel facing camera.
The device further has a Quad core 1.3GHz processor, 1400 mAh battery, the Android Lollipop operating system and costs R59 per month, without credit checks – on a 24-month contract.
The X1 device, features slightly higher specs than the A1 device – including a 5.2 inch HD display, LTE connectivity and 2540 mAh battery with Android Marshmallow.
The device is available for cheque account holders without a credit check for R150 per month.
Both devices feature free online banking and WhatsApp.