Popular mobile brand, Itel Nigeria, has contributed a lot to the growth of the mobile sector in Nigeria and they are fast becoming a brand Nigerians are beginning to love and respect when it comes price, design made from the latest technology.
The mobile brand has so grown that Brandafriq.com had to pay a visit to their Lagos office where they talked a lot about the product and its plans for the Nigerian market as the Marketing Communications Manager, Oke Umurhohwo, went on to reveal that the company is planning to build its factory in Nigeria soon to help increase employment opportunity in the country.
Read Excerpts below;
How has Itel been able to survive in the Nigerian harsh economy?
It is the combination of giving value for money by bringing reliable phones that trending and most importantly that are affordable. We are living in a country according to the world bank statistics, majority of people live below I dollar a day while some people live below N360 a day that is, in a whole day the highest salary they make a day is N360. So knowing the type of country we are in, we decided to focus on the mass market, by mass market we mean those in the C, D, E class, the low income earners, students, artisans, so those are the people we target we are not contesting with the high salary earners, so we produce phones that are less than N10,000 the average person can get so with Itel, for as low as N12,000-13,000, you can get our smart phone. So no matter how or what you want a phone to give you like the other top brands will give you for N150k, we give you for N30,000. Itel has been able to pay attention to the demands of the market and been able to bring in a phone that will be able to satisfy their everyday needs.
Other brands are rolling out large screen sizes of phones, but Itel produces pocket size friendly phone knowing that there are lovers of large screen phones, why is that?
At Itel, we have big size phones and we position our products into three major smart phone models and one tablets. For the tablet we have the 7inhes which we call the Prime, while for the smart phones we demarcated it into three major segments the A series, P series, and the S series. So the A series is the android phones for those that are just leaving torchlight phones to androids as they need phone that can browse and do other things and we have phones from 4-5inches in the A series. We also the have the 5.5inches, even the P series which is the Power series it also has the screen of 5.5inches and the S series which is our Selfie series with trendy and youthful, which is meant for people that wants to feel among. Our latest phone the P32 comes with 5.5inches screen so it’s has big as any other smart phones and the S series as well we have more surprise as they come with a much bigger screen of 6.0, so we have big screen phones to cater for everyone.
How long has Itel been in Nigeria and how successful is the brand?
We have been in Nigeria for 10years now. Last year, we were the highest selling mobile phone brand in Africa, overtaking Samsung and this year we have been doing well as we are among the top three phone brands in terms of sales value. So if we are not doing nobody will buy our phones.
What has Itel done that different that has stood them out or is it just the pricing?
No, it’s not just the pricing but it is a major factor also, the quality of the phones have improved a lot compared to when we started then and there is also the after sales services for phones under I year warranty unlike some brands that don’t give after sales services. So, the price, quality and after sales services is what has contributed to our success stories.
The Nigerian government has been talking about patronizing made in Nigerian product why has Itel not thought of establishing a factory here in Nigeria?
We are already working on that and it will be ready in the next few years just that we don’t have it now.
Why is it that your phones don’t come with games thereby making the buyer to download whatever games they want?
You see we focus a lot on consumer feedback now majority of our consumers according to our research wants phones that is as free as possible making them decide what they want in their phones. In a situation whereby they think that candy crush is the most popular game for their phone they can download it themselves or have other games. So we try to put the basic things that every user will need on the phone to allow the consumer determine what they want and in some of our stores, they can actually help them install any app they want so that should not be an issue.
Talking about market positioning do you think you can sustain yourself in this market which is already becoming saturated and what strategies will you introduce?
We are not competing with other brands, our mass market is a very big market. Let’s take Nigeria for example, we have about two hundred million population and they say about 80% of Nigerian population falls under that category of mass market, so the mass market now includes from C, D and E even as far as lower B class, so we will keep having students, we will keep having low income earners, we will keep having people that live outside Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, so in the next 10 years that market cannot be saturated because we keep having people that buying their first phone or second phone so that market cannot be saturated in the next few years.
Your brand boasted of having the biggest battery smartphone in Africa, won’t it affect the weight of the phone in one’s pocket?
There is modern technology to increase size of battery without increasing weight so that is what we actually used in our P3. You get the same size lighter but more efficient plus the new android 8.1gold edition which we have partnership with Google for it optimizes your battery even better. So if you see the phone is lighter than even other phones with big battery so the technology has really improved and it has longer battery life.
Looking at the future mobile phone market in Nigeria, what are the trends you think will likely come up in the future and how ready are you to key into it?
The mobile phone market in Nigeria is still very dynamic. There are some predictions we might say will come but at the same time but the Nigerian consumer psychology we still have slow down. Like about 2-3years ago predicted that by 2018 about 60% of the market will be using 4g services but the usage is still less than 20%. Airtel is just picking up 4G across some states like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, aside those three states, the rest are yet to be connected. There is also the issue of with 4G dominant a lot of people will be able to do video streaming but you see a lot of people shying away from video streaming because of high data cost, so there are a lot of dynamics that is unpredictable especially in Nigeria so in the next few years if I will say more of the light apps will take over and there will be more synergy with the major operators in achieving this. Like Itel, we are currently working with some banks to see which of the phones we can do discounts on to avail the buyer to pay instalmentally or the bank might decide to pay us and collect the money from the customer.
The idea of thumbprint in mobile phones, how about in the case of injury on that finger, will the owner still have access to the phone when locked?
Our finger prints are very unique so even if you have injury your finger print doesn’t change and our P32 allows you to register up to 8 finger prints except your eight fingers are injured which likely not possible so anyone you use on the phone will still unlock it.
Looking at Itel what are your goals for the Nigerian market in the next 5-10 years?
I think we will emerge the No1 phone brand in Nigeria, as of now, we are among the top three brands and the margin is very close.
There is this allegation/argument from some consumers that Itel is actually owned by same company making Tecno and Infinix but selling with different names how true is this?
That’s not true. We just happen to be under a traction group. Traction is like the parent company of Itel, Tecno and Infinix but we operate differently maybe only at the top level we just ask what are you guys doing this year but in Nigeria we operate on a totally different level and we are serious competitors as we don’t relate with each other so Itel is not owned by Tecno.