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 The latest mobile phones and devices are mostly available on GSM networks, while CDMA operators largely sold outdated gear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