Motorola Solutions gets back into the African market

The company is partnering with the UN on a mobile project

Motorola Solutions has re-entered Africa's mobile market seeking to challenge the growing dominance of Samsung and Nokia.

After a decade of absence, Motorola is claiming a piece of the flooded mobility market, with its launch of an Android-powered tablet, the MC40 handset and wireless network products.

"The recent acquisition of Psion for $200 million has enabled the company to flesh out its mobile computing portfolio and gain deep expertise in the manufacturing, industrial and supply chain sectors where Psion has traditionally been very strong," said Travis Heneveld, United Nations Account Director, Motorola Solutions.

The company already has established a sales and distribution channel, mainly for its wireless solutions but is hoping to expand to its mobility products. Motorola wireless products were previously used by ISPs in countries like Kenya but the high cost of equipment meant businesses preferred the more affordable Chinese products.

"Our strategy to capture the market is to offer reliable, cost effective, and stable product that will be available in the next five years; most of the devices today may not be supported in the next two years, they change every six months," said Heneveld.

Motorola has extensive contracts with the United Nations agencies and is hoping the existing relationship will help it capture new unexplored market in the humanitarian sector. The company recently partnered with the UN Development Program (UNDP) to launch "mobile for development", a project exploring ways mobiles can be used to deliver serves.

Although the company was acquired by Google, Heneveld said that there is no collaboration within countries, apart from the use of Android OS in the mobility products. Google has a presence in several African countries and is currently involved in partnerships that provide affordable Wi-Fi, among other connectivity-related projects.

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