Duka1.com partners with top firms to retail genuine phones ahead of grey handset switch off plans

Nagare Tech Limited’s site Duka1.com is barely a month old but has partnered with major electronic manufactures, including Samsung, Sony, Nokia, Blackberry and HTC, to retail original electronics in Kenya and across East Africa.

This comes ahead of Kenya’s communication authority the Communication Commission of Kenya’s plans to switch off fake handsets on Septemeber 30.

Regulation 24 of the Kenya Information and Communications (Importation, Type Approval and Distribution of Communications Equipment) Regulations 2010, requires all mobile phones to be type approved. Contravention of this statute attracts a fine not exceeding KSh300,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both, states the CCK.

Duka1.com, an ecommerce portal mainly for information technology gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, ipads and printers, wants to ensure buyers in the region go for original products and at the right price from the comfort of their homes or offices. The firm currently ensures Kenyan consumers buy the handsets compliant with Regulation 24.
According to the Nagare Tech’ managing director Mr. Ashokan N, Duka 1 offers original gadgets supplied from manufacturers through the partnerships.

Ashokan told HumanIPO that the portal’s catalogue now has smartphones, ipads, tablets and other mobile devices although the firm is increasing its catalogue to include a variety of IT items including printers, cameras and other office and business machines.
“We aim to give consumers easy and convenient online shopping. We are serving individual buyers, resellers or wholesalers and businesses and corporate firms in Kenya and across the region,” he said.
Ashokan says Duka 1 cannot be beaten on price and asks buyers to compare their prices with other sellers before making purchases.

Buyers should also check if the products are original, he adds.

“Our focus now is building a reputable brand name Duka 1 which is a challenge but can be overcome by providing world class service,” he said.
Ashokan also praises the government of Kenya for promoting ICT and Internet usage.

According to Kenya’s communications regulator the CCK, counterfeit handsets manufactured without regard to the recognized security standards may expose mobile money systems, such as Safaricom’s Mpesa, to risks.

CCK statistics show that about 3 million handsets in the Kenyan market are counterfeit. This translates to about 10 percent of all the active mobile phones in the country.

The phones have been hailed for their affordability in Africa, and Asia where 14 percent of the active phones are counterfeits. Part of the appeal is how they are often first to introduce features at a greatly reduced cost, such as dual SIM functionality that genuine phones may not have.

Manufacturers of the grey handsets imitate popular devices like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, and ship them at between $60 and $120, in that order.

The cost of manufacturing a counterfeit iPhone in China is around $300, which are later retailed at around $600, according to reports.

Arc Chart, a research firm, says an estimated 150 million counterfeit cellphones are estimated to be created for shipment to customers by 2013. The figure will form up to 7 percent of the total mobile phone market next year.

If other African countries follow Kenya’s move to switch off the counterfeit phones, the phones’ market “could drop miserably.” Africa is a major expoter of the counterfeit phones from China.

The counterfeit phones employ fake International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers. Makers of these phones generally do not pay value-added taxes hence profit illegally from participation in the phone market.

Ashokan believes that his over 27 years of experience in blue chip corporate firms has given him enough exposure to run Duka 1, which seeks to ensure original gadgets are used in Kenya.

Ashokan says his inspiration came from the Asian markets where e-commerce is available so they wanted to try it in Africa. Currently, the firm operates around Nairobi although plans are underway to cover the entire East African region.

The gadgets found on Duka 1 or in their warehouse have a 1-year warranty complete with after sales service and repair.

The firm allows payments via Visa, Master Card, Mpesa, Pesapal as well as bank transfers.

Duka1.com founders have worked in UAE and Malaysia FMCG and ICT fields.

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