1OS usage in Zambia from 2012 to 2015. Source: StatCounter
What phones are selling the most in Zambia? From the image above, Android.
Apple may have high numbers of sales globally but Android, specifically those manufactured by Samsung, are selling and re-selling like hotcakes in Zambia at the moment.
More people are making the switch from BlackBerry which was, and still is, huge here only because of the cheap prices of the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) subscription provided by mobile operators here, ranging from between K30 and K60 per month.
Previous BlackBerry owners are more likely to switch to Android from the BB platform, less than the ones trading in their phones for iPhones.
Will Apple’s penetration ever increase as much as it has globally? Maybe with time. The limiting factor is that Apple’s devices have features that are non-functional that do not work in Zambia, which makes users feel they are getting less than what they paid for the device. Some inbuilt features may not operate like the digital assistant Siri. ‘She’ does not seem to want to talk back here using voice, but may work in some cases with text commands.
Android however, has tried to be compatible to conditions beyond borders. It’s also much easier to find third-party apps on Android and other OS because they are more open to them, compared with Apple which has strict 3rd party application regulations.
From the chart above, we can see that Zambia has more Android devices than any other. Series 40 comes second as a common operating system found in Nokia devices. There are many users of the low-budget Nokia range of devices with this OS. Symbian is another OS commonly found in Nokia devices. Samsung follows right after with its Tizen operating system. Apple’s iOS has gained just under 10% of the mobile market share in Zambia in the last 3 years.
Windows, BlackBerry and LG are all under 5%. One would think BlackBerry phones would have a larger share than this but we need to remember that it’s almost the same number of BlackBerry phones circulation in the country as users keep reselling them to others.
Other OS can be classed under Android like most LG and Sony Ericsson. The rest all fall below 1% as they are not popular with Zambians.