May we meet you Sir?
My name is Nicholas Okoye, President/CEO of Anabel mobile. Given the fact that there are other similar products in the market, what competitive advantage does Anabel Mobile devices have to survive the competitive telecom market over Black berry andÂ Nokia series
We are in direct communication with the customers.
The kind of devices Anabel is producing are based on international standard and will continue to produceÂ the devices the consumer have told us they want from us. ByÂ and large , it is going to be very difficult for our competitors to come very closer to the consumer. AtÂ Anabel mobile, weÂ listen to the consumer, weÂ understand their needs and be able to turn around a products that meet that needs in record time.
That is the promise of Anabel mobile. Anabel mobile is small, simple and unique. WeÂ came into the market with cutting edge innovation products with unique features which the consumers have indicated to us. We have already done that with our professional series smart phone. Being the first time a mobile company is coming into the market with a complete office solution, the product isÂ an office in your pocket.
The Anabel devicesÂ are indeed mobile officeÂ that you are carrying around in your pocket. With these phones,Â you can send and receive email, documents anywhere you are in the world. You can actually read on the server (Your office)Â while you are on the go, travelling to somewhere. Our devices are very smart indeed. We have taken this revolution to the next level and we are not stopping there.Â We are talking to consumers, they are telling us what they want. Very soon,Â we will come out with very innovative dual sim devices, which we expect to be launched in the next few weeks, six to beÂ precise. We areÂ coming out with more multimedia devices. Again,Â that is whatÂ our consumers have told us that they want. We are coming out with devices which are targeted at specific demographics.
So, we are looking at the elderly, children, young people, undergraduates and so on, so that we can come up with devices that meet the needs of these particular market segments. And I can assure you that when you see our new devices which will be unleashed to the Nigerian market for the next six months, you will indeed agree that Anabel mobile has become an entrantÂ into this field and people will be excited about what we have done.
What is your entry price for the products
We have a wide range of products. Right now, our smart phones are prized between N40,000 and N65,000. That is for the smart phones for high level professionals who want to carry their office in their pockets. It comes imbedded with window mobile which is MicrosoftÂ operating system. That is the sophisticated device. Even at that price , it is almost half the cost of our competitors who offer similar services.
We areÂ Â Â coming down to the mass market. We have listened to the Nigerian people and they have told us thatÂ they want Anabel to come with a product that can meet the needs of the masses and we have answered their call,Â expecting to come with products over the next two weeks that will be in the price range ofÂ Â N15,000 per phone but meeting those needs of having internet camera, and still having dual phone and in addition with fm radio, MP3 and all the features that a smart device would have just say a window mobile operating system and the ability to take storage device like memory cards and so on.
So, we believe that the time has come for Nigerians and Nigerian entrepreneurs to play in this field of hard ware development and design, and Anabel has taken the bull by the horn.We hope that the Nigerian public will continue to support us.
Do you have products for illustrations and graphics
Like I told you,Â the entire range of our products are designed basically based on what the consumers haveÂ told us they want. Most of our consumers have continued to tell us they want to be able to have illustrations and graphics devices. So, our professional series phones have those features. Our lower endÂ phones also have those features. We are very excited about the ability to be able to do this in theÂ shortest period.
How durable are your products
The durability is second to none. We go through rigorous testing. We subject our products to rigorous certifications from all over the world. We have certifications fromÂ Standard Organization of NigeriaÂ (SON). So, the rigidity of our products is without question. We have engineers on the production line as our products are been coupled, making sure that we only meet the highest standards of quality because Nigerians are very demanding and they want only the best.
And so, if you are coming with the hope that Nigerians will support you, you must be willing to give the best. HavingÂ said that, we are producing electronic products and so anything could happen. For that, we are giving a twelve months warrantee on our products. For some products, we are even extending the warrantee to sixteen to eighteen months, which no manufacturer has ever done. At the end of the day,Â we also have an ultra modern service centre. So, if eventuallyÂ you have problem for any reason at all with any of our products which I doubt will never happen, you can go to our service centre and be very happy you did.
How do you hope to cope with fake products
The problem with fakeÂ products is the fact that you will not be able toÂ enjoy the warrantee If the product have problem which most fake products will have. You are on your own and you are throwing your money away. So, the best bet is to deal with manufacturerÂ who stands behind his products, even if you are drinking beer or whether you are buying wine or TV set, you go with the manufacturers products because that is the only way you can make a claim when anything goes wrong. If you buy a fake product, you throw your money away.Â If anything happen along the way you canâ€™t take it back. So, you are on your own.
Nigerian consumers are beginning to understand that if you want quality, you go to the brand.
What other products are you looking at In the telecom space, we have a wide range of products that are expected to debut in the Nigerian market. Like I said before, we do have smart phoneÂ series which we launched about four months ago. We are about to launch a wide range of feature phones which have the features that the Nigerian people have told us to they want. Anabel is also part of the group incorporated.
And Anabel is also working on that, and that could be brought to bear in the Nigerian market. It has a range of LCD and Plasma series we want to launch in the first quarter of 2010. The design on the work is going on now.
We have received the samples TheyÂ have gone through first test. HavingÂ done our design, we are looking for ultra flat slim LCD and Plasma screen. We are also looking at our customers demand.Â They have told us that theyÂ want fridge. They haveÂ told us that they want our brand that meet their standards. We also have a technical team working on that as well.
So, Anabel is going to be an integrated Electronics group, proving the needs of customers in the hardware space not only for the Nigerian customers but also for the African customers.
What is your relationship with service providers.
The kind of relationship we have with service providers for now is that of collaboration. We are collaborating with them because we are providing handsets and they are providing services. In terms of them being able to sell our devices, we have not done that yet because service providers take some time before arriving at decision. We have gone through testing in all the service providers, our devices have come out with flying colours, and so we are now at the stage of negotiation on how we can get these devices on the shelves of the friendship centre and the customer service centres of the network providers.
What about the CMDA
We have not produced the CMDA hand sets but we actually have a team working on that. We expect to have a CMDA handsets by the end of this year asÂ we know that most of our loyal customers are saying that they want an Anabel CDMA handsets. Anabel is working hard to that. Hopefully, before the first quarter of 2010. Anabel brand of CDMA will be out.
Do you plansÂ to establish manufacturing plants in Nigeria.
Most definitely, we believe this is very unique nation. We believe very strongly in Nigeria and we started in Nigeria. We are Nigerians. We believe that we should bring the beauty and style of products to Nigerian people. So, we are expecting that the manufacturing environment will improve very soon. So, we are now waiting. We are actually working on blue print right now to set up our manufacturing base in Nigeria. We are talking with our partners across the world and we actually have a team that is putting together a design. We might start with few lines but definitely, we will grow.
We are on the radarÂ as far as manufacturing is concerned. We went to Tinapa to look at the facilities, we â€˜ve gone to Lekki free trade zone also. Those are the two zones that have been completing really for where we will site our manufacturing facility, but definitely we will be in Nigeria in the next two years as far as manufacturing is concerned.
Are you expecting to launch price war
We are not going to do that, rather what we will do is to provide quality products. Anabel is a brand. So, you are not going to get Anabel so cheap because it is not a cheap product. We have made every effort to create a brand and our brand is very powerful. So far, we have been very successful in doing that. And so, we cannot turn around and diminish the brand quality. That is what is going to happen. We will differentiate our products based on quality. Based on the features people have decided and requested for and they are in our recent research reports that is how we will win the customers not on price.
The people know about Anabel,Â the more they willÂ realize what we have done. Once they realize that our products are superior to those products they are carrying today, they will accept us. We are not going anywhere and we are going to be with the Nigerian people until they accept us. We are not expecting them to jump into us and they will. Like you said, some of these brands have been in Nigeria for the past five years and they did not build their customerÂ base or market in 12 months or 24 months. It happened over 5 years. So, it is a long time business. We donâ€™t expect people to switch immediately after six months, but I can assure you that we are committed in what we are doing. We know that we are going to succeed. We know that the Nigerian people will eventually switch to Anabel smart phones and they will drop their Blackberry.
How are you going to guide against fake products.
Like I said before, the main guide against that is education of the customers and the consumers. They need to understand the difference between fake and original and the difference is the back up and quality services and quality of the product.
We go through a rigorous procedure to get to the level of products we will deliver. We ensure that every instrument in the component of our products are tested and is assured of quality. We make sure that when we are getting the components together, they are all high quality from the best suppliers in the world. All that pains taking efforts has gone into giving Nigerians the best product. We need to educate our customers to understand what quality is, though some of them do. So, those who do not will fall victim to those who sell fake products like people who drink fake beer. What happen to them is that they fall sick and those who take fake drugs do not get better either. So, it is the same thing. And as you know, you cannot eliminate fake products as there areÂ many unscrupulous elements out there. However, we will know our customers and they will depend on our products based on quality.
What is theÂ future of Anabel
The future is very bright. The Nigeria market is growing significantly. The last figure said 67 million Nigerians have hooked on to GSM networks. The productions also tell us that they are expecting over a hundred million of mobile devices. Can you imagine the size of that large market and you expect that those devices will be supplied by foreign companies. These devices need to be supplied by local companies .As far as Iâ€™m concerned, this is our own resource control. We need to plant in this field. Nigerians need toÂ understand that this is a market our people need to be involved in and Anabel is blazing the part. And we are very confident that we will make it.
What are your challenges
The challenges of Nigerian market is our education. The level of our education in Universities has fallen tremendously, and you see it in the polity, in interview positions, in people you meet when you try to make sales calls. We need to go back to education as a nation. This nation is not going anywhere without education and because the more the advances in technology, in terms of communications, theÂ more people embrace that. Right now you can hold a meeting even with an Anabel device from different parts of the world and every body will participateÂ Â using the device ,what we call video conferencing and tele-presence. It is going to go further. Some companies in Europe and Japan are able to do tele-medicine where you can actually diagnose a patient in Nigeria and the doctor is in Japan. That is happening today, and it is made possible by information and communication technology. There is more that has not yet happened. We need our people to go and embrace education.
India has done it very successfully. They are reaping the benefits right now. There was a time India graduates were fighting over themselves to get a VISA to go to US and Europe. It does not happen anymore because they are getting those jobs in US and Europe while they are sitting in their houses in Bangalo
The job is actually coming to them . They are no longer going out for the job now. That is where Nigeria needs to get it right as a nation. That is part of our major challenge and I think we can overcome that because power can be sorted, all it requires is visionary leadership to decide that they want to sort out power generation and they will . I think this present government is taking it up because we are expecting 6000 Mega watts by the end of this year. However, the education problem is something that has permitted the society across the board andÂ Â is deep and we need to arrest it now for us to move forward as a nation.