Sunday, 28 September 2014

Naija Smartphonomics: The Economics Of Buying A Smart Phone In Nigeria

The Nigerian telephone market has come a long way. From the era of “Poor people don’t need telephones” to the present “everyone deserves a smart phone” era. 

Mobile phones with operating systems like BB OS, iOS, Windows Phone and SYMBIAN were off the range for most low income earners; but along came Android OS and the smart phone market was liberated and became proliferated. Low income and minimum wage earners are now proud owners of low ‘low-budget’ smart phones that work.

Despite this liberation and proliferation, buying a low-budget phone is not easy as it seems, as many potential smart phone buyers find themselves in a dilemma of which smart phones to buy. It is not uncommon to see posts on internet forums (like eliciting suggestions from members on which phone to purchase with a particular income range or to help choose between two alternatives.

The purpose of this piece is to highlight some factors to consider when buying a smart phone. These factors are listed below.

1.       Your Salary: The first thing to consider when buying a smart phone is your income. If you have only one source of income and your salary isn’t six figures, then please remove your eyes from the top shelves and look at middles shelves, thank you. You shouldn’t save up to buy a smart phone. Look at it objectively, if your salary is N20,000 for example, how much and how long can you save to buy the infinix zero (N20,900) or Innjoo i1s (N14,000). There are better things to save up for than a device that can be damaged at first charge, first touch or first hello. If you can’t buy a smart phone out rightly, then it’s out of your range. In such an situation, it’s time to look at the bottom of the shelf for phones like the MTN Sm@rt phones (N8,000 or N10,000) or you buy a fairly used device.

2.       Your Lifestyle: I consider it economic recklessness to carry a smart of N50,000 in your pocket while struggling for a bus of N50 at iyana Ipaja, Lagos or buying an iPhone 6 and charging it with an “I pass my neighbour” electric generating set? If your smart phone doesn’t correlate with you lifestyle, people might be force to ask you; “who died?” when it is stolen, misplaced or damaged beyond repair.

3.       Degree of carefulness: The capacitive touch screen of a smart phone is its Achilles. So if you aren’t exactly the careful type, then you’re better off buying a phone with corning glass screen technology and those don’t come cheap. It is not economic to buy a phone that cost 1/3 of the price to fix a damaged screen. Secondly, if you’re prone to losing your phone in buses (sliding out your pocket etc), then be economic about your purchase or invest in a small sling bag to carry your phones in.

4.       Your Residential area: Is your residential area safe or is the ‘waylayability’ very high? Carrying a high budget phone in an area prone to mugging isn’t economic. An acquaintance recently got a nice 5.0 display android phone and was “feeling” the phone on his street one evening. The next thing he saw were bright stars and “plenty plenty” shadows running away. When his sight was restored, his phone was gone. That reminds me; please keep your phones out of sight when commuting in commercial buses especially if you’re sitting by the window.

There you have it, the Economics of buying a smart phone in Nigeria. And oh, what smart phone do i use? My baby is a Tecno P5.

-The Job Seekers’ Creed™

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