MTN Group, Africa's biggest mobile-phone company, has released the Android-based HTC Dream smartphone in South Africa and is expected to start sales in 22 other countries.
The phone runs the Google-designed Android operating system, which provides Web browsing and supports MTN's plans to meet the rising customer demand for Web 2.0 services, said Shakira Mayaram, MTN communication manager.
"The introduction of the HTC Dream supports MTN's strategy of making richly featured Web-enabled phones available to a broader portion of the South African market," Mayaram said. "MTN acquired exclusive rights to sell the phone, better known as the G1, in Africa."
MTN is focusing on deploying the phones in countries where 3G networks are supported.
The HTC Dream is manufactured by HTC and distributed in South Africa by Leaf International Communications. The phone has an 8.1cm TFT-LCD (thin film transistor-LCD) touch-sensitive screen with 480x320 resolution and comes with pre-installed software supporting Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Talk and YouTube videos.
This week, MTN Group reached the 100 million subscriber mark in its drive to become the world's leading telecommunications service provider in emerging markets.