Smile VoLTE phone is a VoLTE device, similar to Ntel’s Nova or Reliance’s Jiophone, that gives you access to Smile data, voice and SMS in a feature phone form factor and at a pocket-friendly price.
The device has a feature phone form factor but provides access to 4G data, Voice over LTE (VoLTE), and SMS on the Smile 4G network.
What is not provided by Smile are the technical specifications of the phone, so we do not know what operating system it runs – Android OS or perhaps KaiOS – and whether or not it has wireless hotspot feature for sharing Internet with other devices. We also do not have an idea of battery capacity.
A hotspot feature will be a great incentive for many users and I suspect that without it, the Smile VoLTE phone will not be widely embraced. If there was one reason the Ntel Nova was of great value, it was for the hotspot feature.
Not a lot of people want to do any browsing on a phone with an old-school alpha-numeric keypad. I still have the Nokia 8110 4G, another 4G phone with a similar key pad, and I can’t bring myself to do any significant Web browsing on it either.
Update: I can confirm that this VoLTE phone runs Android OS, is dual SIM, the display is touchscreen, the battery is of 2000mAh capacity, and it does have hotspot tethering.
Smile VoLTE phone benefits
Buyers of the Smile VoLTE phone will get 2GB data monthly for free for the first 3 months after purchase. That is a total of 6GB data free. Users will also get 100 minutes of VoLTE calls to other networks and 50 SMSs for 30 days – again for free, as well as unlimited on-net calls. That means, Smile-to-Smile calls are free.
Lastly, the package includes 100% BONUS data for 3 months, when users of the Smile VoLTE phone recharge with 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 5GB, 7GB or 15GB Anytime or SmileLite 30-day data plans.
There is a clause here though. The 100% bonus data is valid for only 7 days and split evenly between daytime use and night time use. Talk about spoiling a bonus package. I am not going to stay awake between midnight and 6am just to be able to use all of my bonus data. I am guessing that most gainfully employed people will not either. It is either you are awake and at work during the day or during the night. No-one stays awake round the clock. So let’s just say that users get to access only 50% bonus data in reality.
The Smile VoLTE phone package costs ₦15,000. It isn’t a bad deal at all – IF the phone also works as a WiFi hotspot. I can’t emphasize that enough. I have reached out to Smile Nigeria customer care to clarify whether or not it does. I will update this post with their response.
Of course, it is clear that the focus of the device is VoLTE. Smile clearly wants more people using their platform for voice calls and SMS, and a VoLTE device is the easiest way to make that happen.
I do intend to get my hands on one and scrutinize it both for the technical specifications and the actual user experience. Outside of the 4 big GSM operators, Smile has the widest 4G coverage in the country – far wider than Ntel, Spectranet, or Swift.
If you live and work in Lagos, Ibadan, Benin, Asaba, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Abuja, or Kaduna – all cities with Smile coverage – you just might be interested in the Smile VoLTE phone.
How To Get One
You can walk into a Smile store or order directly from the Smile Nigeria website and have it delivered to you.
August 2020 update: A new Smile VoLTE smartphone, with a 5.45″ tiouschscreen and Android 9 Pie, is released.