By Alex C
Phone makers are aggressively building out complex digital ecosystems, consisting of locally relevant applications, rich content and services, around their respective hardware, with a view to further differentiate themselves, and garner more marketshare, in a highly competitive industry.
With Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP (Gross Domestic Product), emerging as one of the top destinations for technology companies, industry observers are of the view that this new market direction is a fallout of heated competition in industry as handset manufacturers look to boost customer loyalty, and ultimately drive up revenues.
The country’s phone market is currently valued at $5.1bn, according to African global market research agency, GfK. Nigeria is however expected to deliver a 13-percent year-on-year growth in 2015.
This complex ecosystem built into these high capacity smartphones and tablets, according to them, is a combination of a plethora of digital services including, music and movie streaming, online shopping and payments, gaming, e-books, e-health, file sharing, social media, amongst many others.
But these services, they further add, are deliberately packaged in such a manner that it meets the needs of upwardly mobile Nigerians. In recent times, Samsung, Microsoft Mobile Devices (formerly Nokia), BlackBerry (Canadian smartphone maker), Huawei Technologies, Infinix Mobile, amongst others, have all launched innovative smartphones into the Nigerian market, pre-installed with a wide collection of premium mobile services and applications designed primarily to make the mobile consumer experience more enjoyable and productive.
Emmanouil Revmatas, director of information technology and mobile for Samsung Electronic West Africa (SEWA), confirmed the new development, stating, “this is direction the phone industry is moving towards. We are not just about selling boxes or hardware.
Revmatas added that Samsung is offering customers a one-year free subscription for Bloomberg, 6 months free subscription for Walls Street Journal (WSJ), 15Gigabits of storage on DropBox, amongst others apps and services, valued at N100,000, which almost the same price as the device (N125, 000). “If you look at it critically, we are almost giving the device away for free,” Revmatas added.
The local phone makers are not left out of the party. Indigenous phone maker, SoloPhone, only recently entered the Nigerian market with series of cost effective smartphones with best consumer experience and entertainment.