Crosscall answers need for rugged cellphonesin SA and MTN heeds call from French supplier

JOHANNESBURG – Crosscall is the second rugged smartphone company to launch in South Africa this week as companies grow their African footprint

On Monday it was announced that the rugged Energizer HardCase H550S smartphone was also coming to South Africa.

In a presentation Cyril Vidal, the founder and president of Crosscall, said the two key countries Crosscall was targeting was South Africa and Australia, as they were big outdoor markets.

Crosscall, a French company with a presence in 13 European countries and 20 000 points of sale, was now operating in 17 countries in Africa, including Tunisia, he said.

The firm is currently pursuing its international development.

Crosscall’s products are adapted to hostile and unpredictable environments, because the company has its roots in the construction industry. Globally the brand has seen its profits rise from 51.2m (R811m) to 71.6m – a 40percent rise in earnings within the space of a year.

It had a projected 2018 turnover of 75m.

112089107 - Crosscall answers need for rugged cellphonesin SA and MTN heeds call from French supplier
FRENCH-made Crosscalls are waterproof and come fitted with dual SIMs. Supplied

Vidal shared statistics on expected growth in the industry: $90 billion (R1.28 trillion) total revenues was forecast to be generated by the global sports and outdoor market segment in 2022; $3.8bn total revenues would be generated by the rugged market segment in 2022 and $355bn in the smartphone market in 2022.

Vidal said at present Crosscall had less than 1percent of the South African market of 15000 units every year, and was sold online and via direct sales with a low visibility in stores.

Vidal said South Africa was a growing niche market.

“So we want to bring our devices back into the shops and business-to-business. We are already here," he said. The company is also boosting its South African online presence.

“South Africa, being the second-largest market in Africa, provided Crosscall with ‘an excellent launch platform’ because of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, which regulates the market as well as stable mobile telecoms operators," the firm said in a statement.

“South Africa’s mature mobile market is driven by technology with increasing 4G and IoT capabilities. This provides a steady market for Crosscall to enable its business development goals in Africa,” it said.

Julien Fouriot, the sales director for Africa, said: “Crosscall focuses on the business-to-business (B2B) market, actively seeking out organisations that need tougher cellphones.

"Some of these industries include farming, security, mining and civil engineering.”

Fouriot said: “South Africa is a well-known destination for outdoor and sporting enthusiasts from the Cape Argus to the Comrades Marathon. It is also a country full of B2B businesses that need robust devices.”

MTN’s Dr Christain Wirtz, the executive enterprise solutions and operations officer, explained why the launch was important to South Africans.

He said yesterday that MTN had been through difficult times a few years ago and had decided to invest more than R40bn in South Africa over the past four years. “We now have the best network and now we want the best devices.

“We support smaller companies like Crosscall launching in South Africa.

"We want to give the best products to South Africa in line with MTN’s Bright strategy. B for best customer experience.

"We want a segmented approach for customers and we have to have solutions for different industries and companies. Rugged devices are a big niche. In South Africa a lot of companies need these devices,” he said.

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