Yesterday when I published news of BlackBerry taking the number one smartphone spot in Nigeria, there were some concerns from those who felt that there

Nigeria not a smartphone market for Nokia – Asha is the ace

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Yesterday when I published news of BlackBerry taking the number one smartphone spot in Nigeria, there were some concerns from those who felt that there was no way BlackBerry could have pushed Symbian aside that easily.

Well, I have it on good authority that Nokia doesn’t really see Nigeria as a smartphone market. This is also the reason that the Lumia range is not sold officially in Nigeria yet. Don’t ask me for my sources. I cannot reveal them.

But the revelation is shocking; isn’t it? But that isn’t all. I also have it on good authority that Nokia is pushing the Asha range to take market share from RIM/BlackBerry. It sounds odd to me, as the Asha range is not a smartphone platform. Asha lacks multi-tasking and native 3rd party apps, but is loved by networks because operators get to keep all data revenues unlike the scenario with BlackBerry Internet Service in which revenue is shared.

I doubt if that means operators don’t like BlackBerry either. They clearly like it and are pushing it everywhere. That all-round data compression that BIS offers has been explained here before, and it is of great benefit to the operators’ networks.

But Nokia is certainly correct about Nigeria not being a smartphone market. About 80-90% of mobiles in use in the country are non-smartphones. Amazing, but true. As such, pushing Asha is not a bad idea. However, it means that Nokia is giving up the smartphone segment here.

It is then no wonder that BlackBerry found it easy pickings.

Still, I wonder if it would hurt that bad for Nokia to make Lumia devices available here, even if it is without any fanfare.

Intriguing stuff; right? What are your thoughts about all this – Nigeria being a feature phone market, no Lumia, and Asha versus BlackBerry?

20 comments

  1. Well I will say this,Nokia has its hands full going up against Blackberry,until someone comes up with something to combat the BBM(its not even the Blackberry phone itself),there fighting a losing battle.

  2. Well I will say this,Nokia has its hands full going up against Blackberry,until someone comes up with something to combat the BBM(its not even the Blackberry phone itself),there fighting a losing battle. pin:21BB8342(as you can see lls)

  3. The issue of BBM can easily be addressed by Nokia aggressively backing other push messaging platforms like whatsapp. But it also needs to get into negotiations with the network to offer data services like BIS, at a comparative price per MB.
    and the issue of multitasking, I don’t see why Nokia has refused to implement it even if it’s limited like that of iOS & WP7, Sony ericsson has had this feature in their feature phones for years.

  4. If only Nokia feature phones could multitask, I would definitly go for it. Because there are many apps avaliable for them.

  5. This is the stark and sad reality . .the Asa series can never have the same allure of the blackberry . . .I see blackberry making more push into the market . . .

  6. Nokia got it all wrong again. If only they have included multitasking into the ashas instead of the big ram and processing speed in some of the ashas it would have been better. Most people don’t care abt the speed. Wait and see the lunch of BB 9220 and 9230. Nokia recognises Nigeria as a dumb phone market and that is why Nigeria was considered best for the lunch of Nokia 103 (the so-call cheapest phone). BB and Samsung will continue to rule the Nigeria market when it comes to smartphones.

  7. Andy,

    I have no idea how things will play out eventually, but you are missing it – majority of people don’t care about multitasking on a mobile. The top internet-connected mobiles in Nigeria are mostly feature phones without multitasking.

    Even in smartphones where multitasking is present, the average subscriber does not use it.

    Those of us who care about it are in the minority.

    But like I said, I have no idea who will win the marketshare war.

  8. Hmmmm Nokia.. well that wont stop me from getting Nokia 701…. I prefer an Iphone to the lumina series sef!

  9. What sells BB mainly is the fact that its trendy. I don’t see the Nokia asha gaining such level of hype. An average Segun/Ada will rather buy a used BB for 20k than buy a new Nokia Asha for same price.

  10. But what are they thinking..I pity Nokia sha. Anyway they are not gonna be top forever…they can decide not to even ship phones into the Naija market at all…WHO CARES? selling dumb asha phones…mtscheew..

  11. I think the issue is not Nokia disregarding Nigeria in entirety. It’s their new smartphone that they refuse to bring over (not that I care though). But truth be told. The nokia guys have studied and known that in Nigeria, cheap feature phone is the bomb. I agree.

    However, taking on blackberry for the phone market in Nigeria is going to be an uphill task for nokia because people are just loving the blackberry more and more as the days roll by. Why, one may ask. The answer lies in the fact that BB has become a status symbol among our youth. You don’t have a BB, “you never see road”. Even if, as we all know, the BB Is a crappy phone that users like me have and endure rather than enjoy. (You can’t get a decent web browsing experience on a BB).

    Now, Asha versus BB. Hmmm… These Nokia people on the long run might just win . The excitement will surely die out and if nokia could persevere, they may be victorious.

  12. Deoladoctor, you said:

    Even if, as we all know, the BB Is a crappy phone that users like me have and endure rather than enjoy. (You can’t get a decent web browsing experience on a BB).

    Highly untrue. Many people use and actually enjoy their BlackBerry. I enjoy mine.

    I would say that your statement about web browsing on BlackBerry is subjective, but its more than that; it is actually untrue. The BlackBerry OS 7 browser is a very good one.

    Perhaps you still use a BlackBerry 8520? That has the much older and poorer browser.

  13. Mister Mobility, you said:

    “Perhaps you still use a BlackBerry 8520? That has the much older and poorer browser.”

    Highly untrue. I actually use a BB 8900 which I guess is much older than the 8520 😀
    Now that’s a phone with a really terrible browser. I will still prefer it over the curve 1 or even curve 2 & 3 because of its screen resolution.

    And I hope Glenda will not call me the EyeBeeKay of blackberry 😀

  14. what a dumb move from a dumb phone maker aimed at the dumb phone segment of my country.no comment

  15. (
    (You can’t get a decent web browsing experience on a BB).
    )

    Even with OperaMini / Opera Mobile for blackberry? Tried ucWeb for Blackberry?

    #JustAsking

  16. Yimu, Yimu, YIMU!!!

    Nokia had better release the ‘808 pureview’ in Nigeria like they did for the N8! That’s all I’m gonna say.

    Oh! I may buy an Asha for my mom. My dad is already used to smartphones.

  17. Like Mr Mobility has said, the bb browser on BB with OS 7 is superb. I sometimes prefer using it to opera mini. To me. I don’t see how Nokia intend to beat RIM with their ASHA range in Nigeria.

  18. Eye.bee.kay:

    I cannot understand your post. It is again full of symbols like, (, ),and #. Please post your comment in a neat manner. It is so messy.

  19. Nokia apparently plots to push the sales of affordable feature phones having smart phones-like abilities will blow RIM out of the water.

    This fails to take into account the proliferation of used-smart phones in Nigeria. It would be illuminating for the idea-heads at Nokia to ponder that the cost of a single used smart-phone is equivalent to one of their best feature phone.

    So I wouldn’t be quick to conclude that Nigeria isn’t a smartphone market for Nokia…Let’s see how it all plays out in the next few years. Who knows, we may be seeing people hugging used Lumia models!

  20. The only real competition to Blackberry is another Smartphone, not a Nokia Asha phone. They will capture a part of the market true, but even those who don’t want a Blackberry have other options: Samsung feature phones and other smartphones which are less or as expensive than the Nokia Asha (used smartphone vs Nokia Asha), to name a few, not forgetting the other Nokia phones like the 603 and 701.

    Those will basic feature phones may upgrade to a Nokia Asha, but those with the money and options will be looking further afield. I don’t think Nokia realise that; just like there’s a market for Blackberrys, there is also for the Nokia Lumia. I just don’t think the Lumia is ready for the African (Nigerian) market.

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