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Nigeria’s Smartphone Uptake Set to Improve in 2018

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Analysts at Counterpoint Research expect the smartphone market in Nigeria to grow in double digits in CY 2018, driven by the entry of new players and changing OEM strategies.

According to analysis firm’s Market Monitor research focused on the Nigerian handset market, the feature phone market grew 15% annually, offsetting the smartphone decline in 2017, due to a recent economic recession.

The research is comprised of shipment estimates based on vendors’ investor relations results, vendor sales, supply chain checks and secondary research.

Research analyst Anshika Jain said the overall Nigerian handset market declined 8% Y-o-Y in 2016, as the economy (highly dependent on oil exports) witnessed a major downfall in GDP due to plummeting oil prices which triggered a recession, affecting buying power.

This adversely affected the purchasing power of the people. “The overall handset market experienced modest growth of 6% p.a. in CY 2017 as the market is slowly moving out of recession. The situation is likely to improve in 2018,” said Jain.

According to Counterpoint Research, the over smartphone market in 2017 contributed to 52% of the total handset volume, declined by 1% YoY.

Samsung led the overall smartphone market with 34% share in terms of shipments volume, it added

“Samsung still retains the top position with more than one-third share in the total smartphone market. While in the feature phone segment, the market is dominated by a single OEM with 76% share. This highlights the dominance of Chinese players in the feature phone market,” The research stated.

According to Jain, the top two OEMs – Samsung and Transsion Holdings (which owns Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) captured two-thirds of the total smartphone market. “Apart from these two, other leading smartphone players include Huawei, Lenovo, Fero, Alcatel, Gionee, and Apple. These brands capture a smaller share of the overall Nigerian smartphone market.”

Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research said almost one-third of mobile subscribers currently use smartphones in Nigeria. “Operators like Airtel and MTN will also look forward to partner with OEMs and Microfinance companies to drive smartphone penetration across the country.”

According to the GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2018 report, mobile subscriber penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa will reach 52% in 2025 compared to 44% in 2017 and 48% in 2020. “In terms of mobile penetration of population, Sub-Saharan Africa will have the largest increase between 2017 and 2025 (8 percentage points).”

Some of the challenges faced by the overall African smartphone market, according to Jain, include affordability and costs, low internet penetration, and a weaker economic climate.

She says Africa is one of the largest continents with more than a billion people, but remains highly underpenetrated in terms of mobile connectivity.

“Less than half of the population still doesn’t own a mobile phone and thus offers a great opportunity for every player in the mobile value chain. Due to this offline is the major channel for mobile device sales.

“Due to lack of infrastructure, it is a challenging task to leapfrog into semi-urban and rural markets. Additionally, the economic slowdown has adversely affected the purchasing power because of which people upgraded to low-cost feature phones rather than smartphones.”

“However, as per our estimates, smartphone adoption is likely to grow in Nigeria and other African countries in coming years as smartphone Average Selling Price is declining and more brands are entering into the mobile ecosystem.”


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Telecom

Subscribers Decry Poor Service Delivery by Telcos, Accuse NCC of Playing the Ostrich

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Telecommunications subscribers have waxed angrily at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for pretending that everything was fine while subscribers grapple with unreliable internet and call services.

Subscribers Decry Poor Service Delivery by Telcos, Accuse NCC of Playing the Ostrich

They want the regulator could do more by compelling Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), also known as telcos, to improve their service.

Some of the major complaints are connection failures, poor data service, fluctuating network, data roll over challenges, illegal credit deductions and uncompleted calls.

Experts said that the drop in service quality has been attributed to the fact that three out of the four mobile network operators failed to meet the industry standards for network service.

In separate calls; Association of Telephone, CableTv, and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS-Nigeria) and National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOM) urged the NCC to live up to its responsibility of protecting subscribers.

Sina Bilesanmi, president, ATCIS-Nigeria, accused the NCC of pretending that everything was fine while subscribers groaned.

He said that ATCIS-Nigeria members have not only complained about drop calls and inability to originate calls, but they are also unable to access their airtime balance after recharging.

Bilesanmi argued that now that service quality has nosedived, there was no ground for telcos to justify any demand for a tariff increase.

He said that “ I have been inundated with complaints about low service quality from my members.

“ It is worrisome and the NCC is pretending that all is well. This low service quality is coming at a time when the MNOs are asking for a hike in tariff and our members were beginning to show understanding because, quite frankly, the tariff has remained the same for over a decade.

“The operators should tell us if they have any challenges.”

Elsewhere, Deolu Ogunbanjo, national president, NATCOM, said the service rendered by the MNOs had become  ‘’so bad’ that subscribers now lament openly.

He added that the telcos, on their part,   complained about their constraints to expand capacity.”

He said: “It(service delivery) has been so bad. It was one of the issues raised last Thursday but the telcos complained about their constraint to expand capacity and the need to raise tariff.”

Ogunbanjo said he supported the demand for an increase in tariff because it was overdue.

He, however, said an increase must be marginal in order not to asphyxiate the industry.

 

 


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Meta Disagrees with $220m Fine, Sets for Appeal

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Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp and Facebook, is preparing to appeal a decision by Nigerian regulators to impose a $220 million fine against it for alleged market power abuse and privacy violations.

Meta Disagrees with $220m Fine, Sets for Appeal

The company said that “We disagree with this decision as well as the fine and we are appealing the decision,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not specify where and when the appeal will be lodged.

It will be recalled that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) published the fine last week, capping a three-year investigation.

The inquiry focused on data sharing practices on WhatsApp, the most widely used messaging service in Nigeria.

The commission claimed it found evidence of “multiple and repeated, as well as continuing infringements” of the country’s data protection and competition laws and imposed the fine as a final resolution.

Meta was ordered to “immediately reinstate the rights of Nigerian users to self-determine and control” data sharing, and stop sharing WhatsApp users’ information “with other Facebook companies and third parties” without users’ active consent.

It was also required to pay $35,000 to cover the cost of the commission’s investigation, in addition to the $220 million penalty. Both amounts are to be paid within 60 days from July 18.

Nigeria began looking into WhatsApp, which has an estimated 51 million users in the country, in May 2021.

That was four months after the app updated its global privacy policy on messaging between individuals and businesses, and how users’ data may be shared with Facebook.

Meta began responding to concerns detailed in Nigeria’s report around March this year, pledging to cooperate towards “reaching an amicable resolution,” according to the commission.

A “remedy package” proposed by Meta and sent mid-April proved unsatisfactory to the commission, however, its report said.

It is not clear what this package is — an email for comment to the commission was not responded to. Nigeria still expects Meta to implement it and publish it on WhatsApp’s website within two weeks, in addition to the fines.

Beyond complying with its laws, Nigeria’s aim with the penalties is to get Meta to “cease the exploitation of consumers and their market abuse,” the commission said.

 

 


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WATRA Says Digital Economy Contributes $30Bn Annually to W/African GDP

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The West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) has said that the digital economy currently contributes around $30 billion annually to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

WATRA Says Digital Economy Contributes $30Bn Annually to W/African GDP

WATRA also called for lower cost of internet access to enhance the digital economy for the respective countries in the region.

Mr Aliyu Aboki, executive secretary, WATRA, who disclosed this during a virtual press conference at the weekend also said the West African telecommunications market is now valued at $63.17 billion with over 400 million mobile subscribers.

However, Aboki said WATRS is working on initiatives to facilitate infrastructure sharing among West African countries to lower the cost of internet for telecom subscribers across the region.

According to him, infrastructure such as gateways, and data centres are facilities that could be shared by countries in the region.

Admitting that the cost of internet across West African countries is still high, Aboki said a lower cost of internet access would enhance the digital economy for the respective countries in the region and increase the consumption of data by the citizens, which in turn generate more revenue for the telecom operators.

“We are exploring regional initiatives to share infrastructure and reduce cost. For example, we have infrastructures like gateways, data center servers, and so on. These are infrastructures that can be shared and used by different countries without necessarily having everyone building the same infrastructure.

“So, we are collectively looking at these rich regional initiatives that enable us to share infrastructure to bring down the cost of Internet ultimately,” the WATRA scribe said.

 

 


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