Airtel to launch Nokia X Android phone in 17 African countries

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Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel has joined hands with handset maker Nokia to provide new Nokia X smartphone across 17 countries in Africa from mid-April this year, a company statement said on Thursday.

Bharti Airtel has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa.

"This is yet another first from Airtel and Nokia. As Africa's largest Internet provider, we are excited that Airtel customers in 17 countries will be amongst the first in the world to enjoy a unique combination of Nokia's stunning design and user experience integrated with a wide range of services.

"In addition, Nokia X will come with data bundles for our customers to access their favourite social sites and chat applications," Andre Beyers, Airtel Africa's chief marketing officer, said.

"Consumers can enjoy their favourite apps and the most popular Microsoft Internet and cloud services, wrapped-up on a smartphone that holds-on the Nokia promise," said Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, mobile phones, Nokia.

On Wednesday, seven major telecom operators across Africa and Middle East, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group, announced they will share their network infrastructure, with the objective of providing Internet to rural communities and driving down the cost of mobile services.

The seven operators include Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Group, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange, Vodafone Group and Zain Group.

The participating operators have made this commitment to providing Internet and mobile broadband access to unserved rural communities and driving down the cost of mobile services for all sections of the population.

The operators collectively manage 76 mobile network operations across 47 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where many of the unconnected population live in rural areas, it said.

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