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Growing Nigerian Economy Via Mobile & Telecom Sector

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Growing Nigerian Economy Via Mobile & Telecom Sector

By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke

Undoubtedly the giant of Africa, with an estimated population of 194 million people, Nigeria remains the largest mobile market in the continent and still has more potential for growth and for competing on a level-playing ground with the developed nations.

Although the economic growth of the country might not be as fast-paced as its counterparts’, it is full of hopes and promises.

The mobile trends published in the 2017 Nigerian Mobile Report, by Jumia Nigeria, Africa’s biggest e-commerce platform, provided some convictions for this belief.

In summary, the report examined how the market has democratized mobile internet use, the consumer behaviours driving increased smartphone adoption and the role of the different stakeholders within the sector.

Jumia is set to release the 2018 edition of the Mobile Report, which will focus on various mobile trends in the country and in Africa at large. And Juliet Anammah, CEO, Jumia Nigeria is as excited as everyone else about the report.

But, while we patiently wait for the report pending its release, let’s examine some facts and figures from the 2017 report.

There were about 150 million mobile subscribers equivalent to 81 percent penetration (as a percentage of the population) in 2016.

Internet penetration was at 18 percent with 216 million internet users while Nigeria’s internet penetration was much higher at 53 percent; its mobile subscription was similar to Africa’s at 81% penetration (960 million mobile subscribers).

To benchmark this data, a similar report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) put the number of subscribers, by the end of December 2016 – at 154 million. This subscriber base is a sum total of all the active subscribers for telephony services on each of the licensed service providers utilizing different technologies. The difference in the number of subscribers presented by both reports can be attributed to the lack of accurate census in the country.

Meanwhile, the percentage of internet penetration widened increasingly; number of internet subscribers peaked at 97.2 million (more than half the number of mobile subscriptions) by end of 2016, which represented a much higher penetration rate than the rest of Africa combined.

The subscriber base of internet users in the country was predicted to increase by at least 30 percent by end of 2017.

With the number of Nigerians having access to the internet, mostly through smartphones, growing in leaps and bounds, it’s a clear indication that there is a huge potential for e-commerce in the country.

For instance, Jumia recorded 394 percent growth on the sales of smartphones between 2014 and 2016, mostly driven by an increasing range of lower smartphones price points. And 71 percent of website visitors on Jumia Nigeria in 2016 used their mobile phones to shop, whereas only 53 percent of Jumia African customers did so.

Although, the contribution of the telecom & mobile sector to the country’s GDP was indeed a small fraction, according to a report by the NCC, only 9.13 percent was directly or indirectly accrued from the sector.

Yet, it is worthy of note to mention that it was a great leap from the previous year. E-commerce companies like Jumia, present in 15 African markets, are facilitating the promotion and distribution of both high-end and low-end price points mobile phones in Nigeria.

The NCC is not also relenting in exercising its power to regulate the operations of the licensed telecom operators especially in the area of voice & data tariff.

So, what is the future of the telecom and mobile sector in Nigeria? To witness an improvement over the previous years will require a collective, yet individual effort from both the private and public sectors. Primarily, the growth of the sector, among other things, depends on the availability of affordable mobile phones & data tariff.  To the former, Jumia is committed – with its partners – to facilitating and leading the charge in this regard.

The week of March 15th-25th, 2018 will be interesting and exciting for the entire country for two reasons: the 2018 edition (4th report) of the Nigerian Mobile Report will be released at a press conference; and secondly, although still related to the first event is the commencement of Jumia Mobile Week (an entire week dedicated to the sales of mobile phones at the best prices in Nigeria).

Nothing beats the excitement of getting your dream mobile phone at nearly half the price and such was the frenzy all over the Nigerian cyberspace in 2017.

From the moment you spot the juicy deals, the swift race for the fastest fingers, the sigh of relief when you have successfully placed your order and the short wait for your order to be delivered.

Last year, Jumia Mobile Week featured 3 mouth-watering flash sales every day at nearly 50 percent off; both night crawlers and day troopers had a piece of the pie.

MTN also gave out free MTN 4G SIM and 20 percent data bonus on their data plan every time you recharged for the first 3 months. There were also juicy discounts on mobile brands like: Infinix at 40 percent off; Tecno at 20 percent off; Motorola at 50 percent off, and Innjoo at 20 percent off.

So, this year, which brands will top the list of Jumia top selling mobile phones? How much discounts will be available to customers and on what mobile brands? How much money are you hoping to save during this year’s Mobile Week? Which mobile phones will have the best deals this year? How much discount will Jumia offer on purchases done on its mobile App? How do you get to participate in the Treasure Hunt so as to win a coveted prize? How do you participate in the fashion accessory giveaways on social media by your favourite fashion celebrity/icon?

Your guess is as good as mine. But, you will find answers to all of these questions during the week of March 15th through 25th, 2018! Add it to your calendar. Join the conversation on social media using the #JumiaMobileWeek2018, and follow @JumiaNigeria across all social media platforms.

Adeniyi Ogunfowoke is a PR Associate at Jumia Travel.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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2,000 Youths to Access N100m for Software Development, Others

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N100 million Technology Fund

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

To nudge the emergence of world-class technology experts, the federal government has set aside the sum of N100 million for about 2,000 youths across the country.

The money, according to the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, would be accessible to the beneficiaries in the next two years for training in different areas such as software development and design, amongst others.

The Minister said the N100 million Technology Fund is part of the government’s efforts to tap into the growing digital economy.

Speaking at the inauguration of a Digital Nigeria Centre (DNC) in Ilesa, Osun State, applauded the commitment and dedication of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) towards enhancing digital skills development among youths, through the implementation of various Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skill acquisition programmes.

He particularly lauded the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, and the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, for their efforts in promoting a digital economy.

“I would like to thank my very good friend and brother, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, for assenting to our request to have the first of this remodelled project in Osun State sited in Ilesa.

“I will also like to thank the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and the entire management and staff of NCC and the USPF, as well as their technical partners for a timely and successful completion of this laudable project,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr Pantami, who was represented at the event by the Chairman, board of commissioners of NCC, Mr Adeolu Akande, stated that the federal government was focused on promoting the digital economy across the country.

He asserted that the DNC inaugurated at Ilesa was a concrete implementation of digital literacy and skills, the second pillar of NDEPS.

According to him, the overarching objective of the DNC project is to facilitate the adoption of digital lifestyle in the schools as well as in the school communities.

The Minister averred that the project’s significance cannot be under-estimated, considering its ability to improve digital skills for the youths and subsequently make them globally competitive.

Mr Pantami said the Nigerian government was determined to arm the youths with digital skills, strong literacy and numeracy skills, critical and innovative thinking skills, complex problem-solving aptitude, the ability to collaborate and deploy socio-emotional skills, which they require to transform their lives and build the economy.

“We have already made a number of giant strides in the development of our digital economy culture and the deployment of initiatives such as the Digital Nigeria Centre eloquently demonstrates the current administration’s commitment to connecting all Nigerians,” Mr Pantami said.

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Vault Hill Raises $2.1m Pre-Seed Fund

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Vault Hill

By Adedapo Adesanya

Vault Hill, the world’s first-ever human-centric blockchain-based metaverse has announced the completion of a $2.1 million pre-seed round.

The money was secured from the private sale of its native token, $VHC with proceeds from the transaction aimed to aid the development of the metaverse designed to enhance the human experience.

The rounds were led by Master Ventures with strategic investments from R-930 Capital, Unreal capital, Spring Dawn Ventures, Evan Luthra, Herd Ventures, Lithium ventures, Girnas Capital, Ferrum Network, Trustswap amongst other angel investors.

This will help the firm to humanise technology through the creation of a constructive metaverse that focuses on the basic human instincts which allow users, content creators and developers to explore their unrestricted creative freedom whilst monetising their creation in the secure ecosystem.

While the first fundraising round off its to-do list, the second round of fundraising, that is, the Initial Decentralised Offering (IDO) of the $VHC token is now ongoing from January 10-23, 2022 on eight major launchpads – MaticLaunch, Kommunitas, Lithium, Moonstarter, TrustSwap, SuperLauncher, Coinxpad and Trustpad.

Vault Hill already sold out the $VHC on MaticLaunch ($100,000 raised) and Kommunitas ($145,000 raised) and the IDO on Lithium has now ended. However, the $VHC can be bought on Moonstarter from Thursday, January 13, followed by the other four launchpads.

According to Vault Hill’s Founder and CEO, Jimi Daodu, “this is a testament of the uniqueness of our product offering in the vast competitive market we are playing in and also a reflection of the hard work of the talented and diverse team at Vault Hill.”

Although the metaverse is not yet up and running, Vault Hill has already secured six partnerships with global brands (especially for digital wearables and for improving health and wellbeing) who will be establishing their virtual office in the metaverse once it launches in Q1 2022.

In addition, the Vault Hill community is constantly growing with about 90,000 #VaultHillers currently across all social media platforms.

Considering the booming blockchain industry, and with many metaverse projects already existing, Vault Hill claims that it attracts an insane amount of attention from prominent blockchain venture capitalists, businesses, and individuals.

The first unique differentiator is the human-centric nature of the metaverse. The infusion of human elements in the metaverse means that Vault Hill is not offering a distant unrealistic concept, but rather, a platform that users can realistically engage with. This means that users will be able to do everything they currently do in the physical world and much more.

Users will be able to interact with others, build romantic connections, play games, improve health and wellbeing, curate art, buy virtual land, own NFTs, transact on the secure platform using $VHC token or other cryptocurrencies of choice, and also explore the seven Districts themed after basic human instincts and functions. The potential of the metaverse as a world where users get to explore different aspects of themselves and overall, feel more human with each visit, is absolutely exciting and undeniable.

Secondly, Vault Hill is the first virtual world with urban planning and development benefits to ensure users build on their Virtual Land (VLAND) respectfully.

Users who own virtual land in Vault Hill City will have total creative freedom to build anything they can imagine on their land. This could range from fitness centres, fashion studios, art galleries, museums, or even libraries and earn returns as other users interact with the projects on their land. Alternatively, landowners can choose to hold their VLAND to sell later at a higher price in the marketplace.

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Technology

Airtel Africa Gets $176.1m for Sale of Tower Assets in Tanzania

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Tower Assets

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The tower assets of Airtel Africa Plc in Tanzania have been sold by the company for $176.1 million, a notice to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Wednesday has confirmed.

A part of the money would be used to offset some of the debts of the organisation and about $60 million would be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for distribution to the government in line with what was agreed.

Airtel Africa disclosed that the full payment has not been made by the new owners as only $159 million has been received, with the expected upon the completion of the transfer of the remaining towers.

The notice stated that the tower assets were sold to a joint venture company owned by a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation, a leading global independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, as majority owner, and by Paradigm Infrastructure Limited, a UK company focused on developing, owning and operating shared passive wireless infrastructure in selected growth markets.

“Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, today announces the first closing of the transaction to sell its telecommunications tower assets in Tanzania to a joint venture company owned by a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation, a leading global independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, as majority owner, and by Paradigm Infrastructure Limited, a UK company focused on developing, owning and operating shared passive wireless infrastructure in selected growth markets.

“The gross consideration for the transaction will be $176.1 million.

“Under the terms of the transaction, Airtel Africa’s subsidiary in Tanzania will continue to develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers under separate lease arrangements, largely made in local currencies, with the purchaser.

“With first closing, approximately $159 million of the proceeds for the transaction has now been paid, with the balance payable in instalments upon the completion of the transfer of remaining towers to the purchaser.

“Around $60 million from the proceeds will be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for distribution to the Government of Tanzania, as per the settlement described in the Airtel Africa IPO Prospectus document published in June 2019. The balance of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt at group level,” the full statement read.

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