Business is booming for RIM in Nigeria and it continues to grow rapidly - a true BlackBerry nation!

By James Richardson on 11 Nov 2012 03:59 pm EST

We reported just a short time ago about the new BlackBerry retail store opening in Nigeria and it seems that the BlackBerry market in Africa is getting stronger day by day. BlackBerry holds the top spot not only in Nigeria but also in the whole of Africa. Clearly in some parts of the world RIM are not doing as well at the moment so it is vital that the Canadian company keep on supporting BlackBerry 7 for a considerable time to come after BlackBerry 10 is launched.

There are more than 170 million people living in Nigeria, which is Africa's most populous nation and one in six Africans are Nigerian. Like here in the UK where I live, BlackBerry smartphones are hugely popular with the youth market and in Nigeria 40% of the population is under the age of 14.

"This is the China of Africa, this is the place to be," says Olu Akanmu, chief marketing officer for wireless carrier Airtel in Nigeria. "The market is competitive, but the potential is extremely huge."

With Android smartphones becoming cheaper and cheaper the Google OS is certainly a growing threat even in the emerging markets but the problem Google clearly has is that the people of Africa have the BlackBerry addiction. Sure, with a BlackBerry 7 device you may not be able to do all the things you can on an Android device or an iPhone app wise, but what we can do is have the best communication device in the market, with a glorious hardware keyboard giving us not only quick and easy access to our emails and BBM but also fantastic social networking integration.

Until September of this year the RIM team that covered Nigeria were actually based in Johannesburg which is 4500 km away, but due to the boom in the popularity of BlackBerry in Nigeria RIM now has its own dedicated office in Lagos.

With Nigeria's carriers, such as Airtel and MTN, RIM has negotiated low-cost, monthly data plans like the 30-day, BlackBerry Complete plan that costs only 1,400 Naira (less than $10). Even cheaper, at 1,200 Naira, is a BlackBerry Social plan that gives access to BBM, Facebook and Twitter.

Dayo Olutunfese, a Lagos tech blogger, notes that a monthly BlackBerry plan is roughly one-tenth the price of regular Internet plans. "Internet access is still expensive in Nigeria, but with BlackBerry you can have access to the Internet, 24 hours a day," Mr. Olutunfese says. "The price (of the device) is still on the high side for the everyday Nigerian, but believe me - everybody wants a BlackBerry in Nigeria."

So while much of the worlds press are having a dig at RIM due to its sales figures, just remember that in many parts of the world business is still booming for RIM and that isn't going to change any time soon! 

Souce: The Globe and Mail via RIM

Reader comments

Business is booming for RIM in Nigeria and it continues to grow rapidly - a true BlackBerry nation!


Just glad RIM's finally noticed the goldmine in Nigeria...Blackberries are by far the most popular smartphones here.

There's opportunity for RIM to sew up carrier billing so that many folks who don't have credit cards can purchase apps from BB AppWorld.

I'm not sure how this can be seen as a goldmine ....

40% of Nigerians are under the age of 14! Lets consider how many of those 14 yr old are capable of sustaining the monthly fees or hardware upgrades on contract (or not) for the available blackberry on their own?

The other 60% of which how many are using a BB or interested in a BB, who will continue to do so in the next 6 fiscal quarters?

The key is the numbers are wrong or not entirely accurate.
40% are under the age of 14: Just how many of them use a cellphone? Of that how many of them are die-hard BB users and willing and financially capable of purchasing new BB10 when launched on their own? The idea here is that Mom/Dad do not have to pay for it themselves and keep themselves from upgrading - hopefully not an issue.

Same must be asked of the 60% above 14.

It was an interesting read in this Sat Globe and Mail. The three page article gives a bit more granularity to the story that you've brought to our attention a couple of times James (Thankyou!) Iain Marlow has done a couple of absolute hatchet jobs on RIM so his obvious North American colored bias against RIM comes through here and there (ie. The sense of inevitability that people will eventually "come to their senses" and make the same choices that North American consumers have made over the last 2 years. He did not include much in the way of delving into the very different economic reality there and how much of a cost advantage RIM has in bringing smartphone services to the masses or how soon,if ever, the other guys will be able to close that gap. There was only one tiny mention from the positive perspective from a knowledgeable third party on the potential for RIM to keep the dominant share and grow their absolute shipments as people transition from dumb to smartphones.) but overall I thought he did an OK job. I've been thinking lately of cancelling my Globe subscription because the two bonehead tech writers Iain Marlow and Omar el A.....have have been crapping all over RIM with the same snide derisive tone that American tech blog sites usually take. Guess I'll have to wait on that......for now....

Your comments in regards to RIM and their global strategy are more insightful and intelligent than the so called reporters employed by the Globe and Mail. As you note, these part time reporters buy into the usual North American view that the rest of the world must somehow recognize our cultural superiority, learn to operate in English and embrace our pop culture excesses for mind numbing apps. Surprisingly, the other 95 percent of the world resists.
The truth is that Apple struggles outside of North America. Remember their arrogant pronouncements as to their arrival in China. Well as documented by the NYT, their are nothing more than a bit player in a market that is 20 percent of the world's population. They are simply not competitive.
It is interesting to watch RIM. They appear to have a two prong strategy and it is far more global in perspective. The first centers on selling smartphones with social networking capabilities to individuals in a range of countries around the world. While it is easy,not to mention intellectually lazy, to criticize the strategy, this is what most of the world does with smartphones. It is all about communications. Apps are fine but in the end, we really want to stay in contact with our families and friends. This is something RIM does well. The second element appears to be the development of QNX and BB10. This platform is not only secure but exceedingly flexible. This platform will allow RIM to maintain/expand their presence in North America and to take advantage of their competitors weakness. For example, look at the ease at which RIM incorporated NFC where Apple will be lucky to have a primitive system in place next year.
I find RIM's global strategy well thought out and one that embraces cultural diversity. This will serve them well particular in emerging economies. Those of Apple and to a lesser extend Google suffer from the usual American exceptionalism. Overall, 2013 will be a good year for RIM. The pieces of a comeback plan are clearly in place and they are well positioned globally.

You make some valid points, although I believe android is a much bigger threat to rim succeeding then apple is or was. Google has undermined everyone in mobile. Nobody can charge a premium price except apple, and that may be coming to and end also.

BB10 will make this Nigerian trend a reality in North America upon its release.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

We're waiting eagerly for BB10 my people are crazy about blackberries and out here qwerty rules the roost! You can bet on one thing as soon as BB10 comes out, it will be right here in Naija and it will not be in limited quantities. :D

They couldn't pay RIM employees enough money to stay in Nigeria. It makes mexico look like a peaceful, 1st world country.

Hmmm……this can only come from either a position of experience or ignorance, which one is it lenn5?

As the blog says "….but due to the boom in the popularity of BlackBerry in Nigeria RIM now has its own dedicated office in Lagos." …..I would imagine a RIM dedicated office would have RIM employees in it, ya think?

With the popularity of Blackberry in many emerging economies, I see Blackberry as "The People's" phone... One that offers value and quality, works well in more "rugged" environments and keeps people connected in a secure way. They are affordable and clearly considered "cool".

One day these populations will have greater purchasing power and expendable income, and Blackberry will be there to take this huge subscriber base to newer phones and services.

Meanwhile, Apple is laughing all the way to the bank with the huge profits they are making on their expensive "high-end" devices. RIM is making up subscribers in India and Nigeria and may win the numbers game in the long run, since there are more populations there than all of the "richer" American-style economies combined, but Apple makes oodles of cash on every iPhone sale.

In the end, if you believe in the "rise of the rest" and reduced influence of American power around the world, with increased power of emerging economies and prosperity, then RIM is planting the seeds now for a huge growth in the future, as long as there is loyalty to the brand, and I hope people do remember that RIM was there offering them good competitive devices when Apple was ignoring them completely because they couldn't make enough money off them.

Nigera isn't a bad place. Personally I would LOVE to visit and meet some of the musicians there. It's a totally different ball game. :D

Aaaah good man! You're always welcome to Naija, if you ever come into town, PM me on CB and i'll take you around town VIP style ;). Just like every part of the world there's good and bad, but from where i'm standing, it's all good!:D

Android is indeed a threat, but I believe there will be a day soon when Google will charge Samsung and others a good licensing fee to use the OS. It will boil down to who has hardware and software. Right now it's only Apple and RIM that has both. Microsoft doesnt have a phone unless it buys Nokia. RIM is in a very good position if the BB10 software is a hit, plus in 3rd world countries they can still move some BB7 devices.

I was wondering why RIM and CB hadn't noticed Nigeria! The market here is cray and is still growing. People really spend their money here on devices,i was amazed to see the iphone 5 in Nigeria 5days after its release, and i know alot of nigerians right now who are waiting eagerly for the BB10.

Thosee that think nigeria is a bad place and say "you don't want to go there", have you EVER been there at all? I haven't, but I would LOVE to one day.

Please climb out of your stereotypes and fears, then travel over there and take a week long vacation. Maybe you'll open your eyes much wider.

Picture a ride to the jetty in an SUV, you could either ride on the twin engine boat or if you're brave Jet Ski the 45 minute journey to Ilase private beaches. Sun, Surf, swim in the pool or the beach for the brave, more Jet Ski, Barbecue, the usual legal vices in abundance (if that's your thing). This isn't a holiday but a normal day. Real and legit hardworking people who live and love life.

Thats my life, its not the same for everyone just like other parts of the world, but one thing common to all Nigerians is that in every situation, we live and love life!

Some people have never left their county let alone go to another state Rootbrian, speaking that language called ignorance is all they can do, they have zero experience and their experience is what they read in the media, don't blame them, just pity them…..again we look forward to having you over here!


If you have a good friend here in Nigeria to show you around etc... then you'll love it. I mean LOVE IT.

If you don't know anyone, then it's not a place to go and visit like you would say Kenya, a country where they've actually invested in tourism.

Nigeria's a place for business folk to come and make money.

Now thats's a very good point, you really need to know people here to have a good time. But if you're the type that likes African arts, culture and extremely nice people and a fantastic environment, visit Calabar Cross River State, I'm not from that zone, but I've been there a couple of times for business and it always just seems more like a holiday destination, lovely!

i hope with this RIM won't loose asia XD this is a good thing, any extra buyer/subscriber is always a good thing, but please don't ignore asia :(
#end rant

"With Nigeria's carriers, such as Airtel and MTN, RIM has negotiated low-cost, monthly data plans like the 30-day, BlackBerry Complete plan that costs only 1,400 Naira (less than $10). Even cheaper, at 1,200 Naira, is a BlackBerry Social plan that gives access to BBM, Facebook and Twitter."

This is why Blackberry's the phone to have in Nigeria. I own a SG3 but don't use it. 3gb montly data plan on GLO is N6000 (£16), which pretty much gets zapped up in less than a week. On my BB I'm on an unlimited internet and BBM for N3000.

An iphone here costs N210,000 (£840) - vs SG3 (N97,000). But I don't think Iphone care all that much about the African market.

I know why bother with USA, Europe, China, India, Russia, Mexico, or Brazil their future is in Africa and specially in Nigeria! LOL !!! Well seen the catastrophic financial results and worthless share price of RIM they will move soon their headquarters to Nigeria. I know, now their operation is small, but there's a lot of potential for "aggressive" expansion. What is next for sure is for them the fine gentlemen of Boko Haram from Nigeria joining RIM team? Blackberry helped the hooligans in UK during their riot, I am sure they will be a valuable assets to all those forgotten warlords in Africa.

Nigeria is part of the present (and most importantly, the future for RIM. The sooner they realise this, the better for them Blackberries have been the number smart phone in this country (and continent generally) for the past few years, and interest is still rising. However, RIM faces serious competition, even here, from iPhone (to some extent), but most importantly from android. It's now more or less commonplace to see Nigerians rocking a BB and an android phone. So, the sooner RIM prioritizes this market, the better for it in the short & long term.