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For BlackBerry to Survive, RIM Should Move From Canada to Nigeria

By Wayan Vota on June 18, 2012

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Recently, Ory Okolloh (‏@kenyanpundit) tweeted this brilliant suggestion to the leadership of Research in Motion, owners of the BlackBerry mobile phone system:

Blackberry should just relocate its headquarters from Canada to Nigeria, BBM rules mobile communication here.

Before you start laughing, realize that this suggestion is not as crazy as it sounds. Just listen to Mister Mobility love his BlackBerry:

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Coming home to my personal lifestyle, everytime I have had a BlackBerry, other phones have taken a back seat in terms of usage: the BlackBerry always gets used more extensively. Every single time. Amazing; isn’t it?

The BlackBerry 9900 is the device that I can’t put down while the others mostly decorate my desk. It has the apps that I need and many more that I don’t. It is rock stable and hardly crashes. Text input is superb. And it is a beautiful phone to hold in the hand.

With love like that, BlackBerry usage in Nigeria grew 150% last year, to 2.4 million Blackberry devices in the country’s four GSM networks MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, by December 2011. Even better, This Day reports that:

Only 10 per cent of blackberry users in Nigeria use their BB for office work, a study has shown. A FactBound Research report on blackberry usage showed that socialising and communication are the preferred options.

“19.6 per cent of users are engaged mainly in socialising and communication, while 15.3 per cent use their BB for research and education. Only 10 per cent use their blackberry phones for office work,” Manager, Consumer Insights, Femi Ayelehin, has revealed.

Ayelehin further revealed that an average of one to three hours daily is spent on BB by 30.8 per cent of respondents, four to seven hours daily by 25.6 per cent, while 24.4 per cent spent an average of eight to 11 hours daily on their Blackberry phones.

So while other platforms may have captured the youth market in other countries, BlackBerry owns youth in Nigeria. And let’s be honest, with over 170 million Nigerians, with a median age of 19 and with 50% living in cities, owning the youth market in Nigeria is a serious prize worth fighting for.

And what do you know, RIM realizes this too. They’ve openined an office in Lagos, one I hope becomes their gateway to growth in Africa’s most populous country.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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3 Comments to “For BlackBerry to Survive, RIM Should Move From Canada to Nigeria”

  1. Fredrick Odhiambo says:

    I think I would go further than just relocating to Nigeria or Kenya. What BBM needs is a whole new management and business model. For a company that supposedly pioneered the smart phone industry to be loosing this battle is just unbelievable.
    Any African entrepreneur and Billionaire willing to fork up?

  2. Anonymous says:

    even in this scul almost all the nigerians have the black berry phone.actually the headquarters of bb should move to nigeria

  3. Steve says:

    Nigeria is an economic superpower in Africa. BB would be smart to move in now and own the market. A niche and alive is better than generic and dead.