Earlier this week we got the chance to see Huawei’s first foldable phone – the Mate X in person, and see whether the device indeed lives up to the hype that surrounded it at MWC 19 last month.

It did not disappoint, and should be one of the more intriguing devices in recent memory when it lands locally later this year.

To get a bit more insight into the device, as well as some more information surrounding its local launch, we sat down with Huawei Consumer Business Group’s CTO, Akhram Mohamed.

Pricing and availability

So the two most important elements of the Huawei Mate X – how much will it cost and when will it be available in South Africa?

Regarding the latter Mohamed did not give a definitive date, but rather a window. To that end he expects the Mate X to be available locally to purchase in July / August this year.

As for how much it will cost when it does touchdown in SA, Mohamed proved far more tight-lipped, noting that it depends on discussions with local carriers, as well as the relevant duties and taxes on such a premium product.

What Mohamed did confirm though, is that the Mate X will be the most expensive device that Huawei has ever launched int he country to date, included the Porsche Design models from the past two years. This was a bit of a given, however, as the RRP at global launch was $2 600.

The CTO also noted that the number of units that Huawei beings into the country will depend on carrier and consumer interest, with Mate X not expected to sell as heavily as past flagship phones from the Chinese manufacturer.

As such it should be interesting to see how it fares in terms of sales against the Samsung Galaxy Fold, which is also slated to land in SA later this year.

Specification options

Along with being a foldable phone, Huawei has also christened the Mate X as the world’s fastest 5G device featuring such a unique form factor, thanks to the Balong 5000 modem found internally.

When we asked if the 5G capabilities of the Huawei Mate X would be supported locally at launch, he answered in the affirmative.

As for how many networks will be supporting it, Mohamed is less sure, but says that the firm is working with local carriers to ensure they are ready from a hardware and infrastructure perspective. As has been the go-to reason for the wait for 5G in SA, spectrum availability is cited once again by the CTO.

At the very least we know one network will be able to support the Mate X, with Rain announcing a partnership with Huawei to launch a 5G commercial offering later this year.

One of the other aspects of the Mate X is the inclusion of a dual SIM. Mohamed confirms that dual SIM devices will be brought to South Africa, but stressed that it would be dependent on carrier requirements, so it will depend on who you’re with.

One of the slots for the dual SIM can also be used for a nano SD card, with up to 256GB extra storage available on top of the 512GB that the Mate X internally features.

First wave

If you ever wanted to know if Huawei considers South African an important country, you’ll be pleased to find out that this region is part of the first wave to receive the Mate X.

With local availability following global unveilings being one of the issues that affected Huawei a couple of years ago, given how well the brand has performed recently, we’re now getting devices as quickly as our British and European counterparts.