Since 2000, the use of smartphones in Africa has increased by 43% every year. Emmanuel Revmatas of Samsung Electronics West Africa stated that the advent of new privately owned submarine cables and their landing on the coast of many African nations has reduced the cost of Internet access, but increased the adoption of smartphones all over the continent: from 90 million of handsets sold in 2005 to 450 million sold in 2012.
Due to the fast growth of mobile communications, in Nigeria many people are looking to buy the latest smartphone models on the market, while others profit from this situation and settle for a second hand Blackberry bought on a free-classifieds website. This cheaper option demonstrates that even poorer social classes of the country are interested and involved in the technological and economic growth of their country and are, in different ways, contributors in the shaping of its new culture.
But according to sources, although Nigeria’s smartphone penetration was the second largest in the continent- following South Africa – only 25% of Nigerian mobile subscribers own a smartphone, 59% of phone owners still use basic features phones and only 16% have more advanced phones.
However, reports suggest that the country has the potential to become the biggest smartphone market on the continent. In fact, most of the network operators are continuing their investment in infrastructure, giving their subscribers the chance to take full advantage of the Internet and small mobile devices.
On the other hand, the major mobile distributors worldwide are keeping an eye on Nigeria’s market, in order to create devices that can specifically satisfy the needs of the country, such as the Huaweii 4Afrika, a budget mobile device produced by Microsoft for the African market or the Samsung Note II which is already available in the Samsung stores across the country.
*Sade Adebayo contributed this article to Technology Times