Midcom Group, which describes itself as “a diversified conglomerate headquartered in the UAE”, launched a range of mobile phones targeting Africa and Middle East markets.
It said that Fero, its mobile brand, will offer 16 models, from entry-level feature phones to “sophisticated premium smartphones targeting the top-end of the market”. Pricing starts from $8 for feature phones aimed at the “rural market”, increasing to $180-plus for the Royale premium series.
“Importantly, we identified a gap in the market serving the middle segment of society. This segment forms a sizeable chunk and, as international brands are at the mercy of currency fluctuations, local brands like Fero are able to keep prices constant and affordable without compromising quality,” said Akash Kumar, MD.
While the devices were designed at Midcom’s facilities in Dubai, “following several months of extensive market analysis and research into the requirements of Africa and the Middle East”, they are (unsurprisingly) produced in China.
The Fero line was beta-tested at the end of 2015 across Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, with more than 1 million handsets sold in less than six months, “far surpassing Midcom’s expectations”.
“Our products were well received and appreciated by both customers and the major telecom operators in Africa. For instance, we are now supplying huge volumes to Airtel and have received impressive repeat orders. Our focus is now to gradually grow distribution figures as we roll out this new product portfolio across Africa,” Kumar said.
The range will be available in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal and Togo, with plans to add Congo and Cameroon before the end of year. The Royale high-end devices will also be available in UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Midcom operates across 17 countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia, in industries including telecoms, consumer electronics, dairy, education, real estate and forex.
It said its “experience as a distributor in the telecom sector and comprehensive understanding of African markets prompted the management team to design, produce and distribute its own line of mobile phones”.