Posted in Technology
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Friday, 4th March, warned Nigerians to desist from using fairly used or substandard mobile telephones popularly known as “China” phones.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta gave this warning during the 37th Kaduna International Trade Fair in the state capital. He warned that “China” phones posed health dangers to users and also dismissed rumours that telecoms facilities like masts and towers pose health hazards to residents around such facilities.
Danbatta, who was represented by Maryam Bayi at the event, stated that “China” phones and not mast causes greater risks to Nigerians.He noted that second-hand devices posed health risk to the users just as they degrade quality of service. He urged telecoms consumers to be wary of the source.
While Danbatta apparently meant well, most Nigerians would have been ‘phoneless’ if not for this “tokunbo” phone merchants. The situation is grim. About 112million Nigerians (about 67.1 per cent of the country’s total population) are living below poverty level, according to statistics from the latest poverty report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Going by this data, it is safe to say that most Nigeria cannot afford good ‘new’ phones. Interestingly, Nigeria is Africa’s largest mobile market, with more than 148 million subscribers.
Now, where does this huge market of 148 million subscribers get their phones from? They don’t pluck them off trees! The ‘Tokunbo’ market serves their need.
To get a clearer perspective, let’s analyze the Smart phone market. Nigeria still has one of the biggest consumer base for smart phones in the world. Nigeria has been ranked in 17th position in a global ranking of countries in love with smartphones. The country is said to have 23.1 million smartphones in 2015, a figure projected to increase to 34 million in 2018. Let’s do the math; subtract 148 million (subscribers) from 23.1 million smart phone users. What we have left is a whopping 124.9 million phone users out of which most are likely to be “China” phone users.
The Cheapest Smart phone goes for around N10, 000; and of course Nigerians do not love to go cheap. So, for these about 112million Nigerians, the answer is a ‘second hand ‘big’ phone.While a set of Nigerians can afford brand new phones, a greater majority depend on the “China” phone market for their phone needs.
While this advice comes in handy, it may just be ill-timed; it would be more effective when Nigerians have a better economic power.