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What Nigerian mobile operators can learn from US counterparts

By Prince Osuagwu

IN every mobile market, the customer is actually becoming king.  Thank  God for the open platform which android  brings that has opened up opportunity for mobile Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs, to manufacture phones with similar features irrespective of status and financial muscles.

The only areas class and budget would show in many of the mobile phones in the market today are just on design and architecture. In essence, every phone seems to operate the same, do the same things even though they may not look or feel the same.

But in what the low budget OEMs may lose in the design and architecture competition, they mostly gain in the affordability contest.

Now this affordability contest is what the OEMs in developed markets seem to go in alliance with mobile operators to compete. The mobile operators themselves appear to need the collaboration to retain their subscribers in the ever increasing dwindling ARPU time they are experiencing at the moment.

Although this alliance is not happening with great momentum in Nigeria and other emerging markets, it still holds great prospects of seeing major mobile OEMs who only bring boxes into the Nigerian market, considering it a profitable venture to manufacture in the country.

This also means that the Nigerian telecom operators should begin to plan big on how to use new and latest smartphones to boost their customer base rather than engaging in anti-competitive tendencies which most often have seen them being heavily fined by the regulator.

Right now in the United States of America, operators are battling each other to secure market share for Apple’s latest phones, which were released earlier last week.

While market leaders Verizon and AT&T have unveiled relatively moderate offers, long-term foes Sprint and T-Mobile US, in typical fashion, are once again trying to outdo each other.

Both companies last week released low-cost leasing plans for the devices, showing the apparent importance Apple’s latest product release has on both companies’ subscriber numbers.

Sprint, in its latest attempt to claw back market share after losing the country’s number three spot by connections to T-Mobile US earlier this year, unveiled an offer allowing customers to lease the new iPhone 6s at just $1 a month.

The deal, which trumped T-Mobile US’ similar $5 a month offer announced on Wednesday, gives new and existing customers the chance to trade in their current iPhone 6 for the new device, as long as it’s been paid off in full. The low cost plans could also convince customers to continue to get their devices from their network provider, irrespective of the fact that Apple also released its own iPhone leasing programme.


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