Vodacom and CRDB collaborate to increase smartphone access

Vodacom Tanzania's managing director, Philip Besiimire (left), and Managing Director of CRDB Bank, Abdulmajid Nsekela, applauding immediately after launching a partnership between the institutions aimed at facilitating access to mobile phones through loans. PHOTO | COURTESY

Dar es Salaam. Telecom company Vodacom Tanzania and CRDB Bank have partnered to come up with a smartphone financing plan, allowing more Tanzanians to access quality and affordable smartphones, in a move to accelerate smartphone penetration and bridge the digital divide in the country. 

Speaking during the launch of the collaboration in Dar es Salaam, the Vodacom’s managing director, Philip Besiimire, explained that the telco deploys various initiatives to lower the cost of devices including subsidizing feature phones and device financing options that accelerate the shift from 2G to 4G-enabled smartphones and leverages partnerships to reach more customers.

“As a major stakeholder and partner in the communication and technology sector, Vodacom is proud to launch this collaboration with CRDB Bank, a respected financial institution in the country. Our collaboration will allow us to extend smartphone loans to more customers at an affordable cost and flexible payment plans. To check their eligibility, customers can visit our Vodashops, where they will pay an initial minimal deposit and collect their smartphones. The smartphone loan can be repaid daily, weekly, or monthly for a period of up to 12months through M-Pesa,” detailed Vodacom MD, Philip Besiimire.

The MD further explained that thanks to this partnership, their smartphone loans portfolio will be expanded to incorporate a plethora of options including high-end smartphones. The specific devices will be unveiled in due time.

On his part, the Managing Director of CRDB Bank, Abdulmajid Nsekela, added, "The partnership between Vodacom and CRDB Bank is an excellent opportunity for Tanzanian citizens to access affordable financial and communication services. As major stakeholders, we are responsible for supporting the government's efforts to ensure that every Tanzanian can benefit from these sectors' growth and development. The extensive network of CRDB Bank has already contributed significantly to the personal development of Tanzanians by providing easy access to financial services. With the collaboration with Vodacom, we can effortlessly impact the country's smartphone penetration and bridge the digital divide."

It was highlighted that despite the country’s efforts to deploy mobile broadband services, many customers are still using 2G devices. This limits their access to the opportunities available online as well as enjoying and benefitting from Vodacom’s high-speed internet plus other innovative digital products found in the company’s portfolio.

Access to smartphones and the internet has a positive impact to the community such as stimulating economic growth by enabling digital entrepreneurship and fostering innovation, digital service adoption, enhancing digital literacy and many more others.

Vodacom Tanzania has been collaborating with various mobile phone manufacturers and financial institutions to enable Tanzanians to own smartphones through affordable loans with flexible payment plans.

In August 2023, the company launched a program that is allowing its customers to own smartphones through a flexible loan starting from Sh20,000, with the ability to repay gradually, for as long as 12 months.

Mr. Nsekela further said that he believes that different innovative products offered by the two institutions stand to benefit and significantly change their customers’ lives if they start using them fully.

He also called for all Tanzanians who use feature phones, urging them to upgrade to more advanced ones by visiting Vodacom’s outlets to access smartphones at affordable costs to keep up with the pace of global digital economic growth.