Orange unveiled plans to launch an affordable 4G feature phone in seven countries in Africa and the Middle East in December, in an attempt to expand its services and offer internet access to less well-connected regions.

At the AfricaCom congress, taking place in South Africa this week, Orange stated it would first launch the Sanza XL in Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Jordan, Mali and Senegal, with other countries to be added in 2020.

The operator partnered with mobile phone brand itel and KaiOS Technologies to produce the phone, which is an updated version of a non-4G model named Sanza launched earlier this year.

Priced at around $28, Sanza XL runs KaiOS and provides access to “over two hundred essential applications”, including WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Google Assistant and Boomplay. It also features the operator’s Orange Money service, the company stated.

It sports a 2.8-inch display (larger than the original), 2MP camera, 4GB of memory and “excellent battery life of up to seven days depending on usage”, the operator said.

The announcement comes six months after KaiOS Technologies announced aggressive expansion plans across the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with the aim to take its user base to 150 million by the end of the year.