South Africa’s biggest cell phone seller, Pep, is working with Google to launch its own version of Android, one that caters specifically for the needs of the African market, according to Business Day Live.

According to the report, the partnership was initiated during Mobile World Congress in February, which was then followed by a number of meetings and even a visit by members of the Android team to South Africa.

The emergence of low-cost Android smartphones has meant that more people are now able to access smartphones running the popular operating system, as well as the more than 1 million apps available on the platform. However, not everyone who buys a low-cost smartphone can afford to buy data – downloading and using apps consumes a fortune of data, even if they’re running in the background, apps frequently update themselves. This is the problem the Pep and Google partnership hopes to solve.

The efforts to more closely monitor data usage may form a part of the Android One program that Google announced during its annual Google I/O conference earlier in the year which is aimed at getting the latest version of the operating system into low-cost handsets for the developing world.

“Pep and Google are working together to come up with Android propositions that are more Africa-friendly,” said Pep Stores cellular executive John Edwards. “They are working on a user interface that will let the user control his data usage…The common refrain is that ‘the phone steals my money’, if you can make that visible and controllable, you’ve got a winner.”

Further details on the partnership haven’t been provided, but we’ll keep an ear to the ground and update you on its progress.

[Source – Business Day Live. Image – Pep and Google]