- MiOne, a Chinese phone manufacturer, has launched two new smartphones — U1 and Joy 9 — assembled in Uganda's Mbale City.
- Chris Baryomunsi, Uganda's Minister of ICT and National Guidance, and David Bahati, State Minister for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, launched the new smartphones.
- The launch of the U1 and Joy 9 smartphones comes after the company sold over 500,000 feature phones branded AB1, AB3, and AB6 in 2023.
The U1 smartphone has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It has a 108MP+VGA AI dual rear camera and is powered by MediaTek Helio G85 chipset.
Joy 9, on the other hand, has 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a 50MP+VGA AI trio rear camera, and a T606 processor. However, both phones have a 5,000mAh battery life.
MiOne is a phone manufacturer based in China with a strong presence in Dubai, the UAE, and Africa. Introducing the company's feature phones was a success in Uganda, so it has expanded into smartphones.
MiOne's phone plant in Uganda began operations in February 2023, adding to the country's employment opportunities and increasing the use of mobile phones.
According to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Q3 market report in 2023, there was a net addition of 958,000 new mobile devices in the country.
At the launch in Uganda, Ben Yu, a brand representative for MiOne, stressed that the company has also benefited from government support while stating that the launch will support the government's efforts to digitise and use technology.
For context, by 2024, it is anticipated that there will be 3.92 million mobile Internet users, or 14.99% of all Internet users, in Uganda.
Yu called the recently released smartphones "high-quality and pocket-friendly," adding that careful thought had gone into their design and that the company considered users' concerns.
MiOne is not the only phone manufacturer in Uganda. In 2019, the Chinese firm Engo opened Uganda's first mobile phone manufacturing and assembly plant in Kampala. At the time, Uganda became the fourth African country to have a phone assembly plant.
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Kenya and South Africa are two other African countries working to accelerate local smartphone manufacturing. In May 2023, Kenya announced plans to roll out locally assembled smartphones out of a need to improve digital access and inclusion.
In October of the same year, the country opened its first smartphone assembly plant in Athi River, Machakos, focused on producing low-cost 4G-enabled Neon 5 ‘Smarta’ and 6 ½ ‘Ultramobile phones.
Also, in July 2023, South African telco Bam Telecoms announced plans to launch its locally manufactured smartphone before the end of 2023.