Huawei Technologies appears bent on capturing the Nigerian smart phone market via its Ideos smart phone which it successfully launched in Kenya earlier this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company will be spending about $1 million in an advertising blitz marketing the product with the hope that Nigerians earning $2,000 a month or less will pick the Ideos as their smartphone of choice.
This will be tough in a country that attaches high premium to aspirational smart phone brands like Research in Motion’s Blackberry. For instance, at the E-Centre shopping mall in Lagos, event planner Fumilayo Odamusi considered buying a Huawei phone. “I like the price, but I would have to hide it in my pocket,” she said. Funmilayo ultimately bought a RIM BlackBerry.
However, a recent trip by CP-Africa to a Starcomms retail outlet in Lagos indicated that the Ideos is sold at a premium in Nigeria. Starcomms is currently marketing the Ideos at about N24, 499 a piece (about $160) not $100 as announced by Huawei.
This might prove problematic as the Ideos’ main appeal is in its affordability as a cheap smart phone option that can be purchased for $100 or less. In addition, the inability of consumers to use Ideos with GSM platforms in Nigeria might decrease the appeal of the phone’s value proposition. Currently Ideos users can only use the phone on Starcomms’ network. Huawei may as such need to sign deals with Nigerian GSM operators to make the available to the vast majority of Nigerians.
What do you think about the Ideos’ chances of success as the smart phone of choice by Nigerians?
For more on the Ideos in Nigeria, read our previous op-ed: Will the $100 Huawei Android smartphone, Ideos do well in Nigeria?