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Nigeria Mobile Phone Market Declines as Uncertainty Grows Amid COVID-19

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Nigeria’s feature phone market suffered a 12.5% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) decline in shipments in Q1 2020, according to the latest figures from global technology and consulting services firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The firm’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker shows that smartphone shipments declined 13.6% over the same period, with demand for both types of devices hit by cautious market sentiment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. From a supply perspective, the December 2019 pre-orders combined with existing inventory to cushion the market from any severe shortages in Q1 2020.

Feature phones remain a major part of Nigeria’s mobile phone ecosystem, accounting for 56.0% share of all devices shipped in Q1 2020. Feature phones are preferred as secondary phones since they offer longer battery life, radio, and network access in rural areas where 4G infrastructure is underdeveloped.

The major players in the country’s feature phone space in Q1 2020 were Tecno with 46.6% unit share, Itel with 30.8%, Nokia with 13.0%, and Bontel with 6.9%.

The market’s Chinese players continued with aggressive marketing and branding activities that helped them to retain notable market shares despite the supply issues thrown up by the pandemic. Transsion brands (i.e., Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) dominated the smartphone space in Q1 2020, accounting for 76.8% of all shipments for the quarter. Samsung held the second-biggest unit share at 7.2%, while Xiaomi and Huawei followed with respective shares of 4.9% and 3.2%.

“The Chinese brands continue to offer more models in the entry-level and mid-range price bands, with devices going for less than $200,” says George Mbuthia, a research analyst with IDC. “Competition is a major driver of this downward trend in average selling prices, a trend that has catalyzed smartphone adoption in the market.

Despite seeing its share drop by 3%, Transsion’s Tecno brand continued to lead the way in Q1 2020, with its Spark 4 and Camon 12 models proving popular. Samsung also remained competitive in Q1 2020 as its A-series models offer superior specifications and are affordable for most consumers.”

Looking ahead, IDC expects the Nigerian market to see a further 15.7% QoQ decline in overall mobile phone shipments in Q2 2020 as the lockdown of major businesses that started March 26th and further measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 continue to have a negative impact.

“Distributors remain reluctant to keep large inventories as they look to avoid bonding more capital amid an economic slowdown with a fluctuating Naira and declining oil prices,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC. “The lockdown has also led to loss of income on the consumer side, which will translate into low spend on mobile phones.”


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NCC, FintechNGR Renew Commitment to Deepen Nigeria’s Fintech Sector

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Following recent engagements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Governing Council of FintechNGR, led by the President, Ade Bajomo, engaged with Dr Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and his management team.

This meeting aimed to deepen the role of the telecommunications sector as a crucial enabler of fintech in Nigeria.

The engagement addressed the critical issue of connectivity and investment in public infrastructure, emphasizing the need for improved connectivity to support essential services such as schools, airports, fire services, police stations, and parks, thereby enhancing timely emergency response.

Ade Bajomo highlighted the inclusive nature of FintechNGR as a strength that regulators should leverage to develop robust policies and regulatory frameworks. He underscored the importance of harnessing Nigeria’s natural resources, particularly lithium, to power base stations and reduce operating costs for telecommunications players.

“Leveraging alternative energy sources built on lithium batteries will greatly enhance connectivity, facilitate efficiency, and drive environmental sustainability,” said Bajomo. He proposed a public-private collaboration to develop these mineral resources.

Dr Aminu Maida responded by emphasizing the need for Nigeria to build internal capacity for creating mobile devices. He noted that approximately 57% of mobile phones in Nigeria still operate on 2G networks, which do not provide broadband speed for users, and that the Commission is working with the industry and other cross-sectors to advance user transition to newer technologies such as 5G.

He stressed the importance of FintechNGR working with regulators to facilitate the maturity of fintechs through corporate governance empowerment, training, and mentorship. Dr. Maida also highlighted the need for a coordinated approach to combating fraud and cybersecurity threats in the financial sector.

“Deepening partnerships between fintechs, financial services providers, and the telecoms sector through collaboration will significantly strengthen innovation in Nigeria,” he said.

The NCC noted that it will work with FintechNGR to enrich the activities of the Regulators Forum—a forum of regulators and innovators in Nigeria that aims to balance regulation and innovation—to facilitate a more impactful Nigeria Fintech Week and leverage the Association as a valuable resource in future regulatory and policy development initiatives.


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17 Ijesha Digital Hub Graduands Secure Job Placements after Inaugural Training Program

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The Ijesha Digital Hub has announced that 17 graduates from its first cohort are to receive job offers following their successful completion of the training program.

Some of the Ijesha Digital Hub cohort 1 graduants flanked by dignitaries at the ceremony

This significant milestone was announced to the ecstatic graduates and the huge crowd that had gathered to witness the historic event by the Keynote speaker and member of the Board of Trustees of Ijesa Global Alliance for Development (IGAD), esteemed industry leader Sir Aladekomo, chairman of SmartCity Resorts Plc and founder of Chams Plc..

The graduation ceremony celebrated the achievements of 48 trainees who completed intensive training in various digital disciplines: 10 in UI/UX Design, 23 in Cybersecurity, and 15 in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.

These graduates are now equipped with cutting-edge skills and knowledge and recognized professional certificates in their respective digital domains ready to embark on their professional journeys.

In a press statement, Dr. Cornelius Adewale, executive director of Ijesha Global Alliance for Development (IGAD), remarked, “The immediate job opportunities for our trainees are a testament to the hub’s commitment to providing skills development training today so that participants can build tomorrow.

“We are proud of the engagement framework, training delivery, monitoring mechanism, and effective assessment we have developed. This initiative has the potential to transform Nigeria into a digital economy powerhouse.”

Prince Abimbola Olashore, chairman of IGAD, added, “The success of the first cohort of Ijesha Digital Hub underscores the significant role that targeted training programs play in addressing the skills gap in the Nigerian tech industry.

“The job placements of these graduates not only validate the quality of the training provided but also highlight the growing demand for skilled professionals in UI/UX Design, Cybersecurity, and Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.”

Dr. Adewale Alonge, vice president of IGAD, also emphasized the broader impact of this achievement, stating, “This milestone demonstrates the effectiveness of our comprehensive training approach and the dedication of our trainees.

“By equipping them with relevant skills, we are not only empowering individuals but also contributing to the overall growth and development of the tech sector in Nigeria.”

Dr. Alonge noted that the achievement of the mission of the Hub would not have been possible without the dedication, commitment and leadership of the domain leaders, Dr: Adewale Obadare, Chief Visionary Officer, Digital Encode, for Cybersecurity, assisted by Mr. Tunji Igbalajobi, Mr. Ebenezer Ajayi (AI/ Machine Learning), Mr. Femi Bakare (UI/UX Design) and their team of mentors and instructors.

The event was chaired by Asiwaju Yinka Fasuyi, the esteemed Asiwaju of Ijeshaland, who delivered remarks celebrating the achievements of the graduates and the impact of the Innovation Hub on the local community and beyond.

The 48 graduates have achieved a minimum of one professional certificate (some have two or more) in their digital specialization and are poised for leadership position in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy.

The Ijesha Digital Hub remains committed to its mission of fostering digital entrepreneurship incubation and acceleration and technological advancement, ensuring that more young Nigerians are prepared to thrive in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

One of the highlights of the historic event was the announcement of the launching soon of a 100 million Naira digital infrastructure fund for the “1000 Digital Workforce in 24 months” project, by US based world-renowned Engineering Professor Olu Olowokere. Dr. Babatunde Ojo, IGAD’s secretary and clinical medical director based in North Carolina, USA presented special awards to the six top graduates from the graduating class.


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WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

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WhatsApp has announced that it will no longer be supported on a variety of phone models starting from the summer of 2024.


WhatsApp to Deactivate Support for Certain Phone Models over Incompatibility

This decision affects a significant number of devices from popular brands such as Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Apple, Sony, and LG.

Users are advised to check the list of incompatible devices to determine whether their phones are affected and whether they need to upgrade to continue using WhatsApp securely.

Surprisingly, some of the models on the list are quite old, but due to their decent hardware or lack of upgrade options, some users have been clinging onto WhatsApp for dear life.

At present, WhatsApp is recommending that users only use the app if they have a device running on Android 5.0 or later, or an iPhone with iOS 12 or newer.

The affected models include popular devices like Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, Motorola Moto G, and various iPhone models like 5, 6, and SE.

This development highlights the rapid evolution of technology and the need for users to stay current with their devices to access essential services like WhatsApp.

As we move towards a more advanced digital age, it becomes increasingly crucial for users to regularly check for updates and ensure compatibility with the latest software and applications.

In light of WhatsApp’s decision to discontinue support for certain phone models, there are several key points that users should be aware of regarding this future incompatibility issue.

One of the main challenges associated with WhatsApp ceasing support for older phone models is the potential security risks involved.

Unsupported devices may become more vulnerable to security threats as they will no longer receive essential updates and patches from WhatsApp.

Additionally, users who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their devices may face difficulties in communicating with friends and family who continue to use WhatsApp.

On the controversial side, some users argue that tech companies should provide support for older devices to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all users, regardless of their device’s age or specifications.

However, from WhatsApp’s perspective, maintaining support for outdated models may hinder the app’s ability to innovate and introduce new features that require more advanced hardware.


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