Business News of Wednesday, 30 May 2012
After introducing K-pad unto the Ghanaian market about three months ago, Alltel Limited, owned by Ghanaian Businessman, Kofi Kludjeson has announced that it would introduce K-phone unto the market in the next one month.
Kofi Kludjeson told journalists at the just-ended two-day AITECH Conference and Fair that on the back of success and prospects of K-Pad, “we will debut another product called K-phone, which is an Android-based dual-SIM phone designed to give users 24/7 internet connectivity on an Alltel SIM, and one can choose to insert a second SIM from another network for voice calls.”
He said the Alltel SIM, which would come with the K-phone handset, would be mainly for unlimited internet and data access, just like the K-pad was designed to give unlimited internet access at very affordable and competitive month subscription.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kludjeson said K-pad had already gained international recognition as the single initiative coming from Africa comparable with Apple’s I-Pad.
He said that K-pad was an improvement on I-Pad because it has everything else that I-Pad has, plus a USB port, ADMI, and unlike the I-Pad, which is a closed system, K-Pad has an open source for users to access more applications for free.
“Now we have I-Pad one, two and three but this is just K-pad one and it already has more than what the three I-Pads have so you can only imagine where K-pad would go from here,” he said.
K-pads come in three specifications – the Android 7-inches which worked as a phone as well because it has a SIM slot, the 9.7-inches, which is the flagship product from Alltel, and the 10-inches one developed specifically for education and for teachers, and therefore comes with both Android and Windows applications.
“Currently we are testing Windows 8 on the K-pad 10-inches and it working fine so far,” Kludjeson said.
He said the company has struck direct deals with Google and other application markets and developers to provide users with wide range of opportunity to obtain applications to meet their specific needs.
“K-pad has gained so much international recognition such that over the past three months that we did the pre-launch release, we have had BBC radio come to us twice, Reuters News Agency from the UK and recently Belgium TV also come to interview as about the product,” he said.
He noted that all the international media houses, which reviewed K-pad passed it as the only product of its kind coming from Africa, which has passed the test of international standards in terms of its sleek design and usability anywhere in the world.
“As we speak now K-pad is already in Nigeria, Liberia, Mozambique and just at this fair we have had approaches from South Africa, Zimbabwe and other countries, and we have also struck a deal to provide K-pad to Kenya, which we would be doing in the next few months,” he said.
He said the company was targeting just about five per cent of each economy within the next three years and that was expected to reach about 1.2 million customers in Ghana for instance.
Mr. Kludjeson said the main focus of K-pad and K-phone was to provide e-learning and e-health solutions among other data communication for the Ghanaian, African and eventually the world markets.
He said over the past three months, K-pad had been piloted among selected groups of workers like the police, the military, doctors, nurses, teachers and even some churches, and it the pilot had been very successful.
“K-pad has enough memory to download several books for students and also has a voice application for the bible and our team is developing applications for the 1992 Constitution for teachers and students, we are also working to have school curriculums on K-pad all for free and for hymn books on K-pad specifically for churches,” he said.
Mr. Kludjeson said Alltel was also working with schools to establish e-learning centres in all second cycle school because the Ministry of Education had approved of K-pad and asked all teachers to participate, adding the first e-learning centre was piloted at Accra Academy weeks ago.
He said moves were underway to provide K-pads to university students within the next three years, and also supply health workers in the rural areas to take and easily transmit basic health data of patients to the appropriate quarters so those patients could have access to quality medical care from specialists, who may not be presents in the rural areas.
Mr. Kludjeson said Alltel is also working with the telecom and other companies to provide 4G and LTE networks in Ghana to ensure that K-pad users, for instance, would have high speed internet on their tablets.
Offering Shares to 100,000 Ghanaians
“We have already invested about US$250 in this business but we believe in equity so in Ghana, for instance we are offering the first 100,000 people who would buy K-pads the stock option to be shareholders in the company and we believe that would make them committed to the product and therefore work as ambassadors to growth its market share,” he said.
Mr. Kludjeson said he believed that the stock offer from K-pad would not only create wealth for Ghanaians but also strengthen the Ghana Stock Exchange, which has corporate institutions owning more shares than individuals.
He said Alltel had flexible payment terms to enable Ghanaians to easily acquire K-pads without feeling the burden of payments, adding that there are three terms of GHC75, GHC85 and GHC95 per month for three years, depending on one’s budget and which category of K-pad and applications one wanted.
“We are working both the mainstream and rural banks across the country to ensure that people who buy K-pads on any of our flexible payment terms are able to pay for it easily and smoothly – meanwhile the banks themselves have shown keen interest in getting K-pads for their staff,” he said.
He said beyond K-pad, Alltel is also providing the Akasanoma PC TV, which worked as both a PC and TV set, and as a Wi-Fi hot spot in the home or office to provide users with access to the internet and TV viewing simultaneously.
Alltel is a technology company into data communication, providing solution in e-learning and e-health and application development training for the youth to be self sustaining.