Mara Phones CEO Ashish Thakkar has called on telecom operators, device manufacturers, industry regulators and philanthropic bodies to push beyond the theoretical and create schemes to boost connectivity in Africa.
In an interview with Mobile World, Thakkar said it was important to bring all the key players around the table for solid action on increasing connectivity in Africa, noting there was a need to ensure companies involved were in it for the long haul.
“Being a device manufacturer, government or telco can’t just tick your box automatically,” he added. “We need the right players who are passionate about this cause, who are a really in this in a selfless manner where it’s about transforming lives, not their balance sheets.”
Mara Phones is the first ever African smart devices manufacturer, making very high quality and competitively-priced Android smart devices like Mara X and X1, Mara Z and Z1 as well as Mara Tab Lite and Mara Tab Plus.
It donates a proportion of its revenue to regional good causes and works in partnership with financial institutions on a range of payment terms to try and widen access to its handsets.
Thakkar said he hoped its actions in Africa would “start shifting the narrative” and showcase the continent is ready to do high tech manufacturing.
In addition to sales in its home continent, the Mara boss said the company had shipped its affordable devices to a range of other countries including those in Western Europe and North America.
During the interview, Thakkar also discussed the key features for affordable devices aimed at under-connected communities.
Meanwhile, Mara phones and tablets are set to hit the Ghanaian market for the first time this year.
Local agents, Diadem Concepts Limited have been telling Techgh24 that the first consignment of devices are due in the country soon, adding that they will very competitive to ensure many more unconnected Ghanaians to access to the internet.
Chief Executive of Diadem, David Kwesi Dionysius told Techgh24 that all Mara devices come with custom-made local dialects keyboard for the country it is intended for, adding that the devices also give unlimited Google Drive and allow multiple SMS to be sent to many people at a go.