How Nigeria’s first indigenous 4G phone will survive | Dailytrust

How Nigeria’s first indigenous 4G phone will survive

  The ITF DG and two other management staff of the agency at the launch of the phone in Abuja, recently.
The ITF DG and two other management staff of the agency at the launch of the phone in Abuja, recently.

Recently, Nigeria, which has served as a dumping ground of sorts for mobile phone manufacturers, got its own locally produced 4G-enabled smart-phone.

The phone is the first ever 4G type made with locally sourced materials from the scratch by some young Nigerians at the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Model Skills Training Centre in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Director-General of the ITF, Joseph Ari, who launched the phone, dubbed, “ITF Mobile” at the 12th National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment held in Abuja recently, said the organisation had been in the process of trade-marking and certifying the phone with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and Ambassador Mariam Katagum, received the made-in-Nigeria smart-phone for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

In an interview in his office, Ari said the homegrown technology was produced under the supervision of the training manager, Mrs Yinka Shodunke.

He said once the phone is patented, a plant would be set up to mass produce it at a cheap price for Nigerians.

He said this would create jobs for skilled and unskilled Nigerians and improve the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A telecom engineer, Taju Sadeyo, who spoke to Daily Trust Saturday, said the launch of the 4G phone was good news. He said the mass production of the phone would reduce unemployment and boost the economy.

Sadeyo said the federal government should get the phone patented and hasten to mass-produce it.

“I commend the ITF for this great effort. I will advise the government not to delay in taking the efforts forward by mass-producing the 4G phone.

“If this is done, it would reduce unemployment and boost the economy,’’ he said.

Another expert, Baderin Ogunfemi, said the new smart-phone produced by Nigerian technicians would give consumers refreshing options, features and a pocket-friendly alternative.

Daily Trust reports that the ITF phone is not the first to be manufactured by Nigerians.

There are quite a number of smart-phones manufactured by Nigerians, but people who may have seen them may not know that they are locally made.

However, many of them have ceased to exist due to low patronage.

For example, Aspire 3 smart-phone was manufactured by a Nigerian tech company, Solo, which was established in 2012 by a group of telecoms professionals, led by Tayo Ogundipe, a Nigerian-born ex-senior global executive in the HTC and Sony.

Another indigenous phone was Ankara K2, which was launched by a Nigerian device maker, Imose Mobile, around early 2015.

The phone came in two colour variants of black and white and supported dual mini SIM.

TheAnkara K2 phone incorporates social networks, including Whatsapp, BBM, Instagram, WeChat, Twitter and Facebook.

It also incorporates English, French and Arabic language options.

Plirisblazex-64 smart-phone is also produced by Nigerians.

It was manufactured and released into the tech market in 2015 by Pliris Mobile Limited, a Nigerian tech company.

AfriOne’s Gravity Z1, Nigeria’s first locally produced smartphone produced at AfriOne’s new factory in Lagos, was also launched in 2017.

“This is just the beginning of a long journey.

“Today, yes we are mainly assembling our phones, using components that are imported, but there are lots of research and development that go on locally right now to produce the phone.

“The software we are developing again has been customised for the local market.

“All our packaging is done locally. But now we are also looking at some of the components and accessories to be produced here locally,” said Sahir Berry, the founder and chief executive officer of AfriOne.

It took AfriOne a year and half to set up its factory, which is a record time.

The facility has an installed capacity of 300,000 ICT devices and accessories per month and now employs about 5,000 people, most of them young.

“We also do applications. In the retail outlets we are creating right now, we are actually creating what we call the entrepreneur programme, where we encourage people to come in, share their ideas with us, technology applications they want to create to help benefit the local society, and we then help them develop those applications and actually push them out to the market.

“We are going to be working with almost 2,000 students and youths to be able to push that out,” Berry added.

Although some of the indigenous phones have ceased to exist in the market, AfriOne and ITF Mobile will be the two prominent Nigerian made phones if they survive.

Sadeyo is optimistic that the two phones would survive as Nigeria is the largest market in Africa for smart-phones, and it is far from saturated.

It is estimated that just 35 per cent of Nigeria’s 200million population have mobile phones.

That leaves a huge space for local manufacturers like the ITF and AfriOne to play in, he added.

Both makers would be hoping the current wave of buy-made-in-Nigeria campaign would help propel the sale of their phones across the country.

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