Zoom Mobile (formerly Reltel) Nigeria shuts down network

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The ranks of CDMA operators in Nigeria keep being decimated year after year. It is no news that CDMA networks have been struggling to keep head over water for years.

One by one, they have given way to the invading forces of GSM technology. As such, the news of Zoom Mobile shutting down its switches across the nation is no surprise. The question had been, How long would they be able to hold out?

The issues bedevilling CDMA operations in Nigeria have been clear for years. They include:

1. Operators were mostly small players with limited reach

2. Initial business model was small reach and high margins, resulting in expensive products and services

3. Infrastructure problems – lack of power supply, high taxes, etc

4. The latest mobile phones and devices are mostly available on GSM networks, while CDMA operators largely sold outdated gear

5. The flexibility that being able to swap SIMs between GSM devices offered was largely unavailable to CDMA users

6. CDMA devices often were more expensive than equivalent GSM devices

There may have been other issues on a case by case basis, but the above points cut across board of CDMA operators in the country.

Zoom Mobile say they are hunting for new investors to resurrect the company. I wish them luck with that. It is a tough environment for anyone to operate in. An economy in which the nation’s top employers – in this case banks – are sacking staff in droves is a shaky one.

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15 comments

  1. Have you heard about the pre-tax losses rendered by Starcomms lately? Some whooping N17bn. CDMA operators’ exit from the Nigerian scene is just a matter of time. I honestly can’t imagine why I can’t use the same phone I use on starcomms to work with a Visafone line. It’s just crazy.

    One major problem I see many of them having is chewing more than they can bite. I mean why don’t they just stick to telephony alone instead of delving into internet service provision. Another is the Nigerian syndrome; everybody want to be an owner. Did NCC at any time rule out mergers of these operators?

    I join in the countdown to the last days.

  2. It keeps me wondering how Visafone is being kept afloat.
    Is it that Jim is just using the excess crude account (sorry, Zenith acct ) to keep them running?
    Any body seen their P&L ?

  3. Sad, i remember back when they were offering free PCI modems. I had some of my early internet access on their network. Not so sad that they are folding up, their data service sucks.

  4. I think there is much to it than meets the eye. How is it that cdma thrives in usa & canada while not here.The whole business in telecommunications in Nigeria is skwued to favour gsm technology rather than cdma.

  5. Zoomobile’s services really sucked big time. I had their PCI card for 10k with one moth access back in 2007 and that crap worked for just 4 days. I threw the damn thing away without thinking twice.

  6. @Ayodele – I don’t know where the PCI modem is but it is still somewhere in the house. I once downloaded a 145MB file for 7 hours on Zoom and i was feeling luke a king back then. Zoom may not have given me high speed internet but they did give me good memories.

  7. The CDMA companies got their business plan wrong right from day one or maybe probably the scope of their license limited them. In the US for example, one of the biggest phone companies is verizon wireless, a CDMA based network.

  8. my multilink deskphone is rusting wit dust, the qstns now are……
    How long will cdma last in 9ja???

  9. Wow. So all those ads they were churning out recently was to get our money for…?

    Supposed they don’t find a buyer, what then for any (sucker) who recently subscribed to any of their services?

  10. (
    So Visafone and Starcomms are teh only CDMA’s still in operation right?
    )

    Well, Helios Towers recently bought MuktiLinks.
    I guess they are treading water..
    (
    Supposed they don’t find a buyer, what then for any (sucker) who recently subscribed to any of their services?
    )

    they have been royally ripped_off! Chikenah!

  11. Something is terribly wrong.the govt should investigate why cdma telicos are dying.are they being poisoned by the gsm cartel with the help of govt polices.we need to know.employed youths are being sent back to the streets.this trend is deadly.

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