The Mobile phone explosion in Nigeria
02 May 2017

The Mobile phone explosion in Nigeria

Many Nigerians especially the younger generations did not know what is was like communicating in the 80's and 90's, this was a time when a certain enterprise called NITEL was the authority when it came to providing telephony services. But I will not dwell much on that but will rather concentrate on the periods when mobile telephone started making inroads into the country in the early 2000's with the entry of Econet, MTN and later MTel. During those early days not only where the handsets heavy, not attractive and expensive, but the tariffs then where also exorbitant (the tariffs where charged per minute and each minute costs Fifty naira), this was in addition to the operators not having coverage in many areas (as a business strategy many of the operators started with the cities later expanding to the rural areas). Notwithstanding these challenges, a total of 866,782 lines (wireless and fixed mobile) where installed by the end of 2001, this has since grown to 151,714,650.00 (please note 151,714,650.00 is the total number of connected lines, while only 113,195,951.00 are active) as at the end of 2014. This meant that teledensity increased from 0.73% to 80.85% from 2001 to 2014 (NCC website).

All of this rapid and explosive increase in mobile devices comes with opportunities which different sectors can tap from, for instance government might want to look into how to better pass information about its programs and policies to its populace through social media, paid chats and voice messages which are all available on the these cell phones. Educational institutions can also leverage on the wide spread of this technology to enhance learning such as online lectures, research collaboration, and student assessment’s. Doctors and nurses can better provide services to the rural areas for simple procedures such as anti natal, medication prescription. Marketing agencies were the first to see the opportunities in this field and they have since been using this medium to advertise their products and services, the only problem has been the strategy they have been adopting which does not always convey the essence of the products they intend to market (for instance I will not want to know what goes on at EXPO 2015, but if I see suits/trousers at 25% discount this may get my attention faster).

In conclusion, as more and more Nigerians embrace this technology we should continue to think of areas where benefits can be derived or improved upon, for instance the operators can include broadband services as an added bundle to the SIM cards which gives them that edge in terms of value added.