Ademola Olukotun is the Country Manager for the French multinational electronics company, Archosin Nigeria. In this interview with Jonah Nwokpoku, he speaks on the entry of Archos’ smartphones into the Nigerian mobile phone market. He also shares insights into opportunities in the mobile devices market as well as how the authorities can better tackle the challenge of fake products. Excerpts
Your company is entering a market which is already filled up with different kinds of mobile devices, what opportunities do you think are still there for you?
Nigeria is still an emerging market and the market is far from being saturated. We presently have 4 major GSM network carriers in Nigeria and one strong CDMA network. Feature phone users versus Smartphone users on each of this network are 80 – 20 per cent. We have over 110 million telephone users in Nigeria, according to statistics from Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC.
This means that 80 to 85 million subscribers presently use feature phones. This is the reason why all network operators are trying to encourage subscribers to use data now. Smartphones can only be used to surf the internet. This gives you a number of 80 – 85 million subscribers’ as prospective Smartphone users in Nigeria. So I believe the market is not saturated. There is still a lot of potential in this market.
Are Archos products NCC type approved and SON certified?
Yes. All Archos devices have gone through both certifications. I will like to state categorically that Archos is not just a green horn in the telephone industry. Archos has been existing since 1988 with so many milestones. For instance, Archos is the first brand to launch the first Android tablet in the world.
Over time, we have strategically made an in route into so many countries like France, Poland, Senegal, Russia, United States of America, Spain, England etc. Archos is one of the leading EU brands. So whatever we do, we adhere strictly to the ethics of the sector.
What are the features that set Archos brands apart from its competitors?
Archos is not a brand that is struggling in the market. We are enlisted on the New York Stock Exchange. Archos products all have Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and the Certificate of Engineering (CE). Our products are European standard devices with good quality Smartphones and tablets at a very competitive price.
I believe these are unique selling points. The connected objects are also different accessories strictly from our Research and Development units. These are new innovations that actually set us apart from all other Original Equipment Manufacturers.
What is your strategic agenda and future plans for the Nigerian market?
We have a vision to make Archos products the choice and preferred brand of smart devices for all classes of people in Nigeria, and within a record time. What do I mean by this? Archos plan flooding Nigeria with quality and affordable products. Archos also intends to create some level of intimacy with users of its devices in the country. Archos is poised to garner between 30 – 40 per cent smart devices market share in Nigeria.
In Nigeria today, 80 per cent of the network users, use feature phones. These are purely low end phones without data capabilities. In numbers, this means we have approximately 80 million phone users using feature phones. These feature phone users can gradually step up to using Smartphones. This shows that there is a lot of opportunity to tap into the market.
Our long term objective will be to provide affordable and qualitative Smartphones and tablets for all classes of Nigerians. We are willing to invest heavily into this economy. We will not quit in a hurry and our spread will be strategic and steady.
What do you think NCC should do to check the influx of inferior brands into Nigeria?
I feel they should optimize their laboratory to a better standard in order to test all devices before they are launched into the market. They should also sanction all OEMs without type approvals for their devices. For instance a brand that cannot be used in other countries should not be allowed into the Nigeria market at all, no matter who is bringing it into Nigeria.