By Tefo Mohapi
With 500 Million plus mobile phone users on our continent – and a population of over 1 Billion people – the Mobile Phone industry in Africa is still far from reaching “saturation”. As such, there is still a lot of room for new players (Mobile Phone Manufacturers, App Developers, Service Providers, etc.) to play a role and grab a significant portion of market share. With this in mind I had a chat with Nic Regisford who is the Chief Marketing Officer at Mi-Fone and has been with the company since its inception in 2008.
Mi-Fone has, in only three years, sold over 1 million mobile phones , generating in excess of $15 million dollars in revenue. This surely makes Mi-Fone one of the fastest growing Mobile Phone brands on the African continent.
Currently Mi-Fone handsets (their Smart Phones are powered by Android) are available in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Chad, Senegal, Tanzania, Rwanda to name a few…according to Nic Regisford.
With a lot of competition amongst Mobile Phone manufacturers, I asked Nic what inspired the start of Mi-Fone:
Nic Regisford: Mi-Fone started because there is a need in the mass, bottom of the pyramid market to provide luxury at great costs. The insipration is the growth and develoment of Africa as the last emerging market.
This statement by Nic is also echoed by Mr Tomi Ahonen (ex-Nokia Executive, Author & Consultant in Mobile and Media) who at the recent Mobile Web in Africa 2011 held in Johannesburg said:
Most billionaires in mobile will come from the emerging world!
Surely it’s not as easy as just setting up a company and automatically people start buying your handsets given how many Mobile Phone manufacturers are out there, there are challenges as explained by Nic below on what challenges they faced starting Mi-Fone:
NR: We had people saying things like “Who are these guys? I bet they wont last!!! China phones!!“
One can understand the great progress Mi-Fone has made thus far when you look at the team Mr Alpesh Patel (CEO and Founder) has assembled since the start, he has assembled a team of professionals with more than 25 years combined experience in the Telecoms market.
Mi-Fone has created an aspirant yet accessible lifestyle brand for its target markets across Africa, Middle East and South Asia. Bottomline: The Mi-Fone range of handsets are stylish, reliable and affordable and together with the new Mi-Apps initiative the company aims to deliver the ultimate user experience to its mass market consumers. Nic touched on this whe explaining Mi-Fone’s differentiator from other Mobile Phone manufacturer’s:
NR: Our differentiator is quality & affordable data enabled handsets. We have a unique understanding of the market, products, and at our price bracket we have the most options for every $2 spent.
That somes up the Mi-Fone offering and given the strides they’ve made so far on the continent along with the confidence and energy the Mi-Fone team exudes…all we can say is here’s to the next 500 million Mobile Phone subscribers.
Mi-Fone Website: www.mi-fone.mobi
Mi-Fone on Facebook: MiFone
Mi-Fone on Twitter: @MiFone