The Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) introduced their leading mobile device Blackberry into the Nigerian market in 2006. Since then, the nation as well as Africa has taken fancy to the device. Within the first three years, the phone earned a premium image becoming a status symbol amongst the masses. Today when the rest of the telecommunication world is gaga over androids and iPhone, the Blackberry business in Nigeria has hit an all time high by becoming the largest selling smartphone.
So how did RIM manage to create this Blackberry mania?
Well, being first always has its own advantages. BB entered the emerging market in Nigeria shortly after service providers had made an entry and the devices existent were simple Nokia and Samsung models. RIM noticed the huge potential demand for smart phones that remained untapped and introduced BB starting with basic models. As word of mouth spread, the sales went on increasing and BB had certainly satisfied a deep Nigerian need that was not even acknowledged. The need to go beyond calls.
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Moreover the only other two companies in Nigeria to give Blackberry some competition are Nokia and Samsung. It is true that most of Nigeria uses mobile devices to only make calls but that is changing very fast and BB is exactly geared for that. The people are not yet up for touch-screen as much; hence the QWERTY style keypad earns a better score. Moreover RIM has penetrated the market based on its stable platform, fast typing, and better e-mail features.
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The initial reaching out by the company simply happened by tie-ups with the service providers in the country. Earlier only post paid users could use BBs but slowly the prepaid users were brought in. The availability was made easy by going through about 300 stores nationwide. Service was made convenient by setting up more platform upgrading and repair centers.
In future, RIM will also be introducing BB academic programs to boost business in Nigeria, across a large number of universities and get a continuous supply of young developers who understand the needs of the local markets. An ace card played to strike a connection with the economy and its people. The year 2013 will also see the BB platform 10 come in use.
Why the intense measures?
As the world’s developed mobile handset markets are getting saturated, phone companies are increasingly looking at emerging markets such as Nigeria. The fact remains that maximum Nigerian BB users are located in Lagos and Abuja only. The rest of the country has not experienced the BB dominance yet and competition in form of androids and iPhone is approaching fast. RIM has earned the first come first serve advantage for sure but the challenge remains – till how long will they stretch this advantage to maintain their top position while expecting other fancier phone companies in Nigeria?