Growing the Nigerian Economy through the Mobile & Telecom Sector

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Written By Larious

Larious is the Executive Editor of LowkeyTech. He is a tech enthusiast and a content writer. 





Last Updated on March 2, 2018 by Larious

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 behaviors 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% penetration (as a percentage of the population) in 2016. Internet penetration was at 18% with 216 million internet users while Nigeria’s internet penetration was much higher at 53%; 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% 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% growth on the sales of smartphones between 2014 and 2016, mostly driven by an increasing range of lower smartphones price points. And 71% of website visitors on Jumia Nigeria in 2016 used their mobile phones to shop, whereas only 53% 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% 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 everyday at nearly 50% off; both night crawlers and day troopers had a piece of the pie. MTN also gave out free MTN 4G sim and 20% data bonus on their data plan everytime you recharged for the first 3 months. There was also juicy discounts on mobile brands like: Infinix at 40% off; Tecno at 20% off; Motorola at 50% off, and Innjoo at 20% 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.


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