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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nigeria outshines S.A. in GSM phone market - IDC

REPUTABLE Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) research organization, the International Data Corporation (IDC) with offices globally including Lagos, has predicted that Nigeria would outshine South Africa as the largest handset market on the continent before the end of this year, 2007.

IDC in its latest findings, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent, at the weekend, said that the Nigerian handset market is set to become the largest in Africa this year.

The study endorsed by the research analyst at IDC West Africa, Mr. Fikayo Aremu, and the Programme Manager for Mobile Devices at IDC, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa (CEMA), Mr. Simon Baker said that according to research conducted in Lagos last year, shipments of new Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) phones will rise from 6.7 million units in 2006 to over 10.6 million in 200.

This, the report said, would put sales of GSM phones in the nation’s market ahead of those in South Africa and thus assuming the highest on the continent.

He noted that precisely, there exists an enormous untapped demand for GSM phones in Nigeria, especially given that the total subscriber base of Nigeria has not been covered.

“As yet, less than a quarter of the population has a mobile phone,” he said, pointed out that as December 24, 2006, Nigeria has over 2.5 million GSM handsets sold in the last quarter of the year under review.

He said that though GSM devices account for the great majority of the market, the sales of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) mobile phones standing at less than five per cent despite potentials for growth.

Mr. Baker also said that the entry-level segment is where the real battle is taking place as the likes of Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Sagem, Nokia and Motorola topple over one another for increased market share.

“Fully two-thirds of the phones sold in fourth quarter of 2006 retailed for less than 8,000 naira (about USD 62) and retail prices are well below international averages,” Baker said, pointing out that the introduction of handsets that retail at $20 would give a big boost to the market growth.

IDC further said that Nokia has continued to lead the Nigerian handset market, thereby accounting for over half of all sales in unit terms and three of the top five most popular handsets last year.

Additionally, IDC research showed that Motorola is making an increasingly strong showing and now holds close to a quarter of unit sales and two of the top five models. The other top-five vendors were Samsung, Sagem, and Sony Ericsson.

“Nigeria is attracting increasing interest from the major phone manufacturers,” Baker declared, stressing that those handsets used to be imported from a variety of sources without manufacturer authorization has taken a new turn.

“But as the volumes grow, the bulk of entry level phones are now imported officially,” he submitted.

IDC prides itself as the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.

IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy with over 900 analysts globally.

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