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Airtel customers to access smartphones on loan thanks to Mastercard, Airtel and Samsung deal

Airtel customers will now be able to purchase Samsung devices on loan, thanks to the partnership inked between Mastercard, Samsung and Airtel. The deal will see customers in the country as well as 13 other markets acquire devices and pay in affordable monthly installments. The deal is expected to become effective from October in Uganda after necessary approvals and later roll out in other territories including Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, DRC, Gabon, Malawi, Zambia, Niger, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Seychelles and Madagascar.

This comes when Safaricom has inked a similar deal with Google to allow Subscribers purchase a smartphone for only Ksh. 20 per day. The arrangement dubbed “Lipa Mdogo Mdogo” has so far experienced a commendable uptake with customers who once couldn’t affordable a smartphone now able to acquire a 4G Neon Ray Go edition for only Ksh. 20 a day.

In the Airtel, Samsung and Mastercard deal, customers will access Samsung devices and pay for them in flexible monthly installments. This will be tremendously cheaper than if customers would have otherwise been required to raise the whole amount for the devices.

Speaking on the development, Airtel Africa CEO Mr. Raghunath Manadava said the move would help customers currently with feature phones upgrade to smartphones and pay in flexible monthly installments. Manadava further said the initiative would open up the digital economy, creating other opportunities for Africa’s entrepreneurs.

Current Airtel subscribers will access the facility depending on their transaction history, meaning only customers with good credit will be given priority. Samsung has also inked similar arrangements in the past, with firms like Lipa Later where customers are offered devices but pay in monthly installments instead of having to raise the entire amount.  

Airtel is currently pursuing deals with Asante Financial Services Group alongside the other partners to unveil a pay-on-demand platform and is expected to drive the digital economy across Africa. According to the partners, customers utilizing the pay-on-demand facility will have access to digital payments through MasterCard’s virtual card and MasterCard Quick Response (QR Codes) feature within the Airtel mobile money app, thereby allowing them to make digital transactions across face to face and online merchants.

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