By Emmanuel Elebeke
IN July 14th, 2011, to be precise, a new brand of mobile phone joined other brands to jostle for the Nigerian mobile market share. The company is Spice Technologies. An Indian mobile phone manufacturing company which has spread across Asia and other countries in Europe and America.
Since its berth in Nigeria four months ago, it has spread its channels to Shagamu, Enugu, Ibadan, Lagos and Abuja, while plans are underway to cover the major cities in Nigeria in the nearest future.
The managing Director of the sole distributor of the phone in Nigeria, Mr. Vincent Okonkwo in this interview, told Vanguard Hi-Tech that apart from coming to sell its products, the company is to help in fighting fake and sub-standard GSM phone in the Nigerian market. Excerpt:
TELL us about Stovex?
Stovex Technology Nigeria Limited is a company and sole distributor of Spice mobile phone in Nigeria. The company for over 20 years, has been manufacturing GSM phones in India, and has branches in so many countries across the globe. We came into Nigeria this year but was officially launched on July 14th. Spice mobile phone is in Nigeria to sell quality to Nigerians and value for their money.
How reliable are these Spice phones?
Well, I can tell you that Spice mobile is a quality and reliable mobile phone brand that has just been introduced into Nigerian market. Though it is new in Nigeria, but it is one of the globally recognized mobile phone manufacturer in the mobile industry globally. We actually came in July and since then, we have been able to sale over 33,000 phones in Lagos alone.
Which class of users are you targeting?
We are targeting all the three major segments of the market. The high, the medium and and the low end. We actually want to put our phone in the hands of every Nigerian. mobile.
what is the proof that you are as good as you claime?
Already, over 3,000 Nigerians are using our product. Customers who are using these phones are testifying to the quality and reliability.
What type of phones do you have in your portfolio?
We have Symbian, China, and android phones. Our android phone MI-270 for instance, is very cheap is second to none in terms of what users can do with it. As you can see, android phones are smart. With android phone, you have GPRS and they work with processor. With Spice android phone, you can go anywhere you want to go with auto look up map.
That is not all, we also have a projector phone. I believe that with what we have now, we are capable of meeting the needs of the Nigerian market. We have a projector phone no other phone manufacturer has in Nigeria. Just a dual sim android phone with the same operating system with higher version.
We also have an android phone that allows you to at least use your back up sim, and still allows you to use it through GSM and CDMA operator. With our 3G android platform, people can use their CDMA and double GSM lines simultaneously.
What was the drive for you coming into Nigeria to compete with the likes of Nokia and Samsung?
The interest is that Spice want to create a market where people can be sure of quality phones. Apart from bringing quality into the market, we are also interested in bringing them on affordable price.
We are not threatened at all, because I know what we have. We have a lot that our competitors don’t have. For instance, with our projector phone, people will find it easier to make their presentations using their phones rather than using laptops.
This is just a pocket phone, for me this is amazing and people will be trilled to see what the phone can do, the first time such phone is coming into Nigerian market. Again, with our dual phones, we can beat any body in the market giving people phones that can accommodate both GSM and CDMA sims. I’m talking about android MI-350. This allows two GSM and one CDMA lines at the same time.
After sales support?
We have service centre in the areas we are presently operating now. We are ready to attend to any type of complaint from our customers. We are ready to change any phone returned to us on the basis of technical or factory fault and will repair them where necessary.
What volume of sales are you targeting in the next one year?
If we can sell more than 33,000 pieces in less than four months, in the next one year I’m optimistic to exceed one million pieces of phones because I believe that the 33,000 pieces already sold is creating awareness. If a new branch can sale such a huge number, then we are going to pull surprises.
Is your operation in Nigeria licensed?
We are licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and the Standard Organization of Nigeria, SON. In fact, I want to use this medium to tell the Nigerian people to reject substandard products. These have created a lot of problem to those patronizing them, but unknown to them.
The reason is that the radiation effects from these sub standard devices can cause cancer. These phones are not health friendly because they are not tested before they come into Nigeria. Anybody buying these products should know that they are buying problem. People should take note that Nigeria is not a dumping ground for sub standard products and should stop patronizing them.
What’s the niche of your enlighten campaign?
We started by ensuring that all our phones are of high quality and standard before they come into Nigeria. We are also educating them on the difference between original and fake phones. We tell them the effects of substandard brands, the benefits of originals, letting them know the different between quality and quantity.
What are the unique selling points of these products?
With our phone, you can catch thieves. We noticed that the number of pocket pickers is on the increase particularly in this part of the world, so we came up with a software that allows people know who stole their phone when it gets lost.
When you buy any of our phones, all you need to do is to activate four known numbers and after the activation, any other person that puts his sim in that phone, an alert will go to those four numbers, informing them who is using the phone. The phone number of the user will be supplied and with that, you can trace the person through the service providers, using a police report.
That is not all, with our projector phone, one can store data in it and use it to make a presentation, which ordinarily he would need a laptop.
There is also a device in our phone called PC suit. It is a software in the park that when you load it on your system, it allows you when activated to use your phone as a modem. With that, you can browse with your phone and laptop with the same modem and on the same data plan and also on one subscription.
Our major challenges is how to deal with the substandard products that have flooded the market. We are worried with the way they are being allowed in the Nigerian market and the large volume that is being patronized by the Nigerian people. I call on the federal government to come up with a strategy that would help in pushing them out of Nigeria before they cause more harm and damages.