Azumi Mobile has announced support for PayJoy’s Lock, a patented Android application that can remotely lock and unlock smartphones offered on an installment plan by retailers, mobile operators, and finance companies. The PayJoy Lock locks the smartphone when a consumer misses a payment, but enables the user to remain connected to make emergency and support calls as well as to access critical applications like mobile money.
GSMA stats show that smartphone ownership in Africa has doubled over the past two years to nearly 200 million connections, a number expected to rise to more than half a billion by 2020. However, smartphone shipment growth is stagnating as prices stabilise rather than continuing to fall. Innovative installment plans are one key to reigniting rapid growth of Africa’s smartphone market.
“This announcement with Azumi Mobile is another step towards fulfilling our mission to make smartphones affordable worldwide through a unique technology that enables people who lack credit to purchase their first smartphone on an installment plan,” said PayJoy’s CEO and co-founder, Doug Ricket. “Azumi addresses consumer needs in emerging markets by providing high quality and high performance smartphones but at an affordable price.”
“We are excited to implement the PayJoy Lock within the Azumi Mobile smartphone family as it will enable consumers around the world to experience Azumi technologies for an affordable monthly installment,” said Tayshira Santamaria, GM of Africa, Azumi Mobile. “Azumi delivers an optimised Android smartphone user experience key for emerging regions where costs and quality are especially attractive,” said the company’s co-founder.
Smartphone uptake across and within African regions and markets is not balanced, with the risk that large population groups will be left out of the emerging digital economy without the means to afford a mobile connection via a smartphone. “With this announcement, we believe that we can contribute positively to the accessibility and affordability of smartphones in Africa”, said Ricket.
PayJoy Lock is expected to be available running on Azumi Mobile smartphones in early 2018.