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Lifestyle

The African Version of Amazon Will Emerge From Nigeria

w575.jpg When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company’s plans for 30-minute delivery drones with Amazon Prime Air in December, it became clear that ecommerce has exciting days ahead.

But Amazon isn’t the only company ramping up digital business, nor is the U.S. the only region in the game. In fact, Africa may have already stolen a march on personal delivery from the air, and Nigeria — specifically the rapidly growing city of Lagos — may produce the next great ecommerce company.

See also: 20 Important African Startups to Watch

Africa’s tech space, which has been defined and accelerated by the mobile phone, is undoubtedly growing as investors scramble toward the continent. Various African countries have leapfrogged fixed-line Internet because of the ubiquity of cellphones and their networks, and entrepreneurs will likely tackle transportation in a similar way. Why build roads to inaccessible places when the air is a better and increasingly cheaper option?

A current initiative that addresses African drone delivery is the Flying Donkey Challenge, a 24-hour race around Mount Kenya where African companies have to deliver and collect 20-kilo payloads as they go. The winner receives a prize of more than $1 million.

But while these companies face huge challenges in circumnavigating Mount Kenya in East Africa, it’s actually in Nigeria, West Africa, where today’s challenges are almost unfathomable in scope — and, yet, also where future “African Amazons” are likely to emerge.

Lagos isn’t Nigeria’s capital city, but it is by far the biggest in the country. Depending on which statistics you believe, the city’s population is between 17 and 21 million, with 30,000 people arriving every week from across Africa.

Delivery in Lagos is utter chaos. There isn’t a viable postal service in the city — or the country, for that matter — and by all standards the city just shouldn’t work. But it does, and ecommerce companies are proliferating. Some even guarantee delivery of products across the city within 24 hours.

“By 2030, one in every six Africans will be Nigerians, and its economy will have the largest GDP on the continent,” says Betty Enyonam Kumahor, managing director of Africa for global IT consulting firm ThoughtWorks. “But understanding how to launch an ecommerce business in Nigeria requires an understanding of the ecosystem and country, and other aspects such as the cost of generators and the relative dearth of the talent pool.”
But ecommerce startups in Lagos, such as online grocery business Gloo.ng, are facing logistic problems beyond buying generators. There’s also the problems of trying to get through Lagos’ terrible traffic and finding addresses that often cannot be found on a map, for example.

Gloo.ng’s founder, Dr. Olumide Olusanya, is positioning the company as Nigeria’s equivalent of Ocado, the very successful UK delivery arm of Waitrose supermarket. Olusanya gave up practicing medicine to become an entrepreneur, and Gloo.ng has expanded rapidly in its short history. It has quadrupled in size in the past year, and in January moved to a 20,000 square feet fulfillment center in the city.

“We believe the timing of starting our company has been God-sent,” he says. “Brick-and-mortar supermarket shopping, which is exceedingly painful on this side of the world, is not yet culturally ingrained, and we will leapfrog the curve of building supermarket brick-and-mortar, as you have in the developed climes where this is an embedded culture.”

According to Olusanya, the two biggest brick-and-mortar players have a combined market share of 0.9%, with fewer than 13 outlets in a nation of 170 million people — a significant portion of whom are migrating to the middle class.

“The fact that 65% of first-time users become repeat shoppers with us is proof that we are on to something huge,” Olusanya says.

Ecommerce innovation isn’t limited to Nigeria, but entrepreneurs around the world are closely watching what is happening there. One such UK entrepreneur is Ivan Mazour, CEO of Ometria, a software company providing an ecommerce intelligence platform to retailers.

“Ecommerce is the next frontier for emerging markets — an unstoppable wave in the evolution of retail,” he says. “The MINT countries [Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey] are the future, and Nigeria is the most interesting of this new group. As an economy, it’s projected to go from the 39th largest GDP to 13th in the next two decades.”

More importantly, Mazour adds, Nigeria is already home to many successful ecommerce giants, including Konga and Jumia, two Nigerian ecommerce companies that have raised $63.5 million and $61 million respectively from global investors. These two companies provide the inspiration for African entrepreneurs, such as Gloo.ng’s Olusanya, as well as other more niche ecommerce companies to create Africa’s first retail hub or cluster in Lagos.

“[Ometria was] founded with a focus on bridging the gap between the knowledge that exists in developed markets. As we continue to expand globally, we are looking to Nigeria as a future ecommerce leader in the EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] region,” Mazour says.

There’s also a wealth of exciting startups such as QSR Consult, a company that is developing three new “quick service” restaurants Grubs, Spice Bowl and Kobis in Nigeria. Tunde Ogunrinde, the company’s CEO, spent 17 years at Burger King UK and returned to Nigeria in 2009.

“There is a greater comfort with shopping online with many Nigerians nowadays due to pricing and non-payment until goods are delivered at the door of client,” Ogunrinde says. “It seems that Jumia [and] Konga are leading the market in terms of brand awareness and potential volumes. As confidence grows, this form of buying and selling will increase, but for many of these ecommerce companies, the biggest challenge is logistics and getting products to clients on time.”

So, while Bezos dreams of drones and talks hot air, and while some African companies clamber to join the race to Mount Kenya for the Flying Donkey Challenge, it’s Nigerian ecommerce startups that are doing it right now.

Moreover, they are finding quick success in one of the most competitive cities in the world. We’ll see drones over Lagos sooner than we think, and probably a lot sooner than the cities in the West.

 

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Controversies Lifestyle

The High Cost Of Schooling In Lekki & Environs [Nigeria]

Has anybody bothered to take a census of the number of Public schools on the Victoria Island/Lekki axis, even down the Lagos-Epe Expressway to Ajah and Environs? You will be forgiven if you think there are none. Little wonder private schools are dotted all over the landscape making brisk business which, in my estimation, is now in the multi million dollar range. Yet another dimension to this is the differentiation in the fees being charged by schools on this axis and elsewhere in Lagos. Cases abound of schools with multi campuses charging higher fees than they do elsewhere outside this axis. My child in elementary school probably pays per term about what i paid for my education throughout my undergraduate years, even if you add to it feeding fees, money fleeced from parents for fictitious handouts and fees and even factor in the inflation over the years.

school-children_0_5Perhaps, what is most worrisome is what you get for the money you pay. You would expect to get world class education for the “world class” fees you pay, right? But that is not always the case. Instances abound of falsification of records of students’ performances in a bid to impress parents that they are getting value for what they are paying for.

Those that had their elementary and high school education in the 1970s and 1980s would better appreciate the level of decline in our educational system. The glory days of the Federal Government Unity Schools (Federal Government Colleges, Queens and Kings Colleges, etc); State Government schools, including the former missionary schools (St. Finbar’s, St Gregory’s, Igbogi College, etc) are long gone. Even with the high level of rascality exhibited by students in these schools way back then, it was hard to find any private school that could touch these elite schools then.

The story has changed so much these days for these government schools and the private schools have cashed in – in a big way.

The Government seems to always find a reason to shy away from its responsibilities to the educational sector, leaving the citizenry in the hands of the promoters of these high priced schools.

Well, i guess i can only rant and rave. But why do i always feel this way everytime school fees for the kids is due?

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Controversies Lifestyle Religion

“In The Name Of The Father …”

0510LD1The influence of technology on religion has long been a subject of discourse on this blog and it is definitely an issue that will continue to generate a lot of controversies.

You can read my earlier posts on the influence of technology on religion here.

Apart from the “End of the World” proponents who are very convinced about the very negative role technology would play in the end times, even those who are less believing would have to admit that there is an increasing influence technology is having on World religions.

And with the increasing affordability of tablets and higher end smartphones, it is now very common place to see a lot of Nigerians toting at least one of these mobile devices at anytime.

For a while now, i have paid very little attention to this new age phenomenon. However, my visit to the church last Sunday created a reawakening. It was a bit of a shock to me when it was time for Bible reading and about one-third of the congregation flashed out their tablets and fancy smartphones. Even the presiding Pastor had to comment about this. This is indeed the new face of churches in Nigeria, especially for the churches that cater for the middle and high income earners in the Lekki axis of Lagos, Nigeria.

Even the low income earners have refused to be left behind, thanks to the cheap android knock off tablets that have flooded the country from China. It will indeed be research-worthy to compile the number of these devices now available in Nigeria.

The appropriateness of these devices in the church is still generating a lot of divergent views, even among the church leaders. While some Nigerian Pastors welcome this development as a portrayal of prosperity among its parishioners, however in the world over, some religious leaders worry that the inherently isolating and attention-diverting nature of smart phones has created a generation of worshippers unable to fully engage with the sublimation of self and quiet meditation that underlie both the Eastern and Western religious traditions.

The fact can not be ruled out that for the church to shore up shrinking congregations with new devotees,  those younger worshipers expect activities to include smart phone and tablet use. Device multitasking has become such a pervasive part of their life that quiet, paper-text based religious ceremonies seem even stranger and more off-putting.

However, some religious leaders who have already tried to conduct services over a mobile device to a geographically scattered audience, and those who have tried to integrate smart phones into a physically unified congregation, say they have noticed a significant difference in how worshippers process the experience. Unfortunately, they have found that most people tend to disengage from the experience of communal worship with this mode.

I no longer read a bible from a printed paper based format and i honestly do not know where i have placed mine. Reading my bible from mobiles is a habit that i took on right from the days of my trusty Nokia 3650 back in the mid 2000s. For me, though, I must admit that there is indeed something about digital bibles that does not give you the same experience that you get from the paper based ones but the convenience and the excitement the digital ones give you has made this form of bible the only option for me and many out there.

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Articles

Computer Village: Traders Worry Over Relocation

nigerian-geekComputer Village, located in Ikeja, Lagos is arguably the biggest computer and allied products market in the West African sub region. Daily, huge sums of money  exchange hands between buyers and sellers of phones, laptop computers and many other devices in the market. The market has also proven to be one of the biggest employers of labour as thousands of youth struggle to eke out a living by repairing phone and  laptops. However, like most markets in Lagos, Computer Village is always overcrowded and this has been a source of worry for all stake holders in the market.

The Otigba area of Ikeja where the market is located was once a  residential area with no plan to accommodate such a big market but today every house in the area has been converted into shops and offices at very high rates. Due to the thriving phone and computer sales and repair business in the market, even the kitchens of many houses in the area are rented out as shops. On the streets of the market, different sizes of makeshift kiosks litter everywhere. Walking through the market to make a purchase could be a terrible experience.

Mindful of this problem, the Lagos state government announced over three years ago that it wanted to relocate the market to Oke Ado area of the state. The state government planned to relocate the market to Katangowa market in the area and move traders in Katangowa market to another area.

Since the announcement of the relocation plan nothing appears to be happening and there are insinuations that the state government may not be serious about the plan.

P.M.NEWS BusinessWeek findings revealed that the only effort the state government has made concerning the relocation plan is to organise a pre-qualification bid for interested companies for the construction of the Katangowa market. Our checks also revealed that no effort has been made to relocate traders at the Katangowa Market.

Although a source within the government said the plan is on course, most traders who spoke to our correspondent say they are worried over the delay in the relocation plan.

A trader in the market, Johnson Ekwe wondered why three years after the pre-qualification exercise was carried out, no actual bidding exercise has been conducted.

He said: “We were happy when government announced the relocation plan. Our thinking was that within a short period, everything about the relocation will be concluded and work will commence at the site. Really as things stand now, we don’t know if the state government is still serious with the plan. Let government conduct the bidding exercise if they are serious and let the best company be contracted to do the job.”

Another trader, Ifeanyi Okoro believes that there maybe forces behind the scene trying to frustrate the relocation plan.

He said: “I can tell you that not many stakeholders were happy  with this plan to move us to Katangowa market and this is understandable because that part of Lagos is really not conducive for our kind of business. Aside from the fact that the road to the place is terrible, the location is just not good for business. Many people come here from different parts of the state and country to buy things from us because this market is located in a central area. I can assure you not many customers will take the pain to come to Katangowa market since it is on the outskirts of Lagos.  I would not be surprised if some stakeholders who are not happy with that location may be trying to frustrate the plan”.

Another trader who does not want his name mentioned said that owners of buildings in the area who charge exorbitant rent are also not happy with the relocation plan.

The trader who said he pays N750,000 for his shop noted that some owners of buildings in the market are still going around to ask their tenants for advance rent and telling them that the relocation plan will not work.

He said: “My landlord is still asking me to pay advance rent for my shop. When I asked him about the relocation plan, he just simply told me that it may take ages before that plan materialize.”

A landlord, Akeem Lasisi who spoke to our correspondent however said he preferred that the market is relocated as the area has become too congested.

Whether the state government is serious about the relocation of the market or not, it is pertinent to note that previous efforts by government to relocate markets in the state, have not been successful.

Some time in 2010, the state government tried to relocate building material sellers from Coker in Orile Area to Satellite town area. Only a few of the traders relocated to the site while majority remained in the former site. Similarly, the state government  effort to also relocate trader at the Idumota market to another location failed.

It is hope that computer village relocation plan will not suffer the same fate.

PMNEWS

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

What’s Your BB PIN?

blackberry babes“What’s your BB pin?”

The question is the ultimate social status badge for many young, urban Nigerians. Standing in front of a row of gleaming BlackBerry handsets in a Lagos phone shop, sales assistant Remi Olajuwon explained: “The average Nigerian has a very healthy interest in status and luxury. So if somebody asks for your BlackBerry pin and you don’t have one …” she trailed off with a dismissive flick of her false eyelashes.

Retailing at between $200 (£126) and $2,000 in a country where most live on less than $2 a day, the cost alone made it a status symbol, she added. “People come in to buy one just to show they’ve been promoted.”

Amid sagging sales in Europe and North America, developing markets offer a ray of hope for Research in Motion (RIM), after the maker of BlackBerry posted a $235m loss for the latest quarter. In Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt, Africa’s three biggest economies, BlackBerrys outsold smartphone competitors this quarter. Kenya and Ghana also had buoyant sales, officials said.

Around one sixth of Africa’s 620 million active phone subscribers come from Nigeria. Half of Nigeria’s 4 million smartphone owners use BlackBerrys, and use among the wealthiest segment of society is forecast to increase sixfold by 2016.

“There’s a misconception Africans only want cheap phones [but] Nigeria is a key market for us. We’re seen as an aspirational product,” said RIM regional director Waldi Wepenerlast month, after the company opened its first Nigerian store in Lagos’s computer village, a sprawling haven for tech junkies.

With its image increasingly outdated elsewhere, RIM hopes to capitalise on Nigeria’s twin obsessions with status and communication. BlackBerry-related dramas flood newspapers’ agony aunt pages. On social websites, debate rages as to whether a bride photographed using her phone during her wedding ceremony was reading an e-Bible, or was merely a BlackBerry addict. The Nollywood film industry, whose clunkily named movie titles are a good cultural barometer and include delights such as the “Fazebook Babes” series, has recently spawned the hit multisequel “BlackBerry Babes”. The comedy follows a group of scantily clad university girls obsessed with getting the latest phones.

The popularity of BlackBerrys in Nigeria is partly born of necessity. Erratic internet services and a nonexistent landline network are plugged by unlimited data bundles, costing about £12 a month. Unpredictable phone networks force those who can afford it to own two handsets.

“I already have another smartphone, but I need a BlackBerry pin number to socialise with friends and get babes. BlackBerry has an edge because of the pinging,” George Emeka, a university student said, using the colloquial term for its instant messaging service.

Others are getting more bang for their buck. Yahya Balogun, who lives in a Lagos slum, used eight months of savings to buy a secondhand model. The taxi driver has caught on to the growing number of high-end businesses who advertise and communicate using BlackBerry pin numbers as well as traditional means. “All my clients in [upmarket district] Victoria Island own BlackBerrys. It is a good investment,” Balogun said.

In his rundown district where extended families squeeze into single rooms, neighbours frequently browse on his phone. “My daughter can use the internet [for schoolwork],” said neighbour Tosin Alabi, his face lit by the screen’s blue glow during a recent powercut. “Personally myself I can never pay 1,000 naira [£4] every week for internet. And the battery is terrible when I can go for two days without charging my own phone,” he added, indicating a battered Nokia feature phone.

Nokia’s low-cost phones remain the top overall sellers across Africa, though affordable mid-range mobiles could also erode RIM’s top-end dominance, analysts say. Last year, Chinese manufacturer Huawei gobbled up almost half of Kenya’s smartphone market with the launch of its $100 devices powered by Google’s Android software. RIM has felt the heat in South Africa, where, unlike Nigeria, mobile carriers offer packages with Apple iPhones. “You’re only with it if you have an iPhone, preferably the iPhone 5, or Samsung Galaxy SIII,” said Khayakazi Mgojo, based in Pretoria.

A three-day loss of service across Africa and parts of Europe last year was the final straw for some. “I switched because BlackBerry was frustrating me with all its constant freezing at the most inconvenient times, short battery life and the daily reboots,” Mgojo said. Nevertheless she added: “I still use it for social network because it’s cheap compared to buying data bundles.”

RIM hopes to bat away growing competition in its most important African markets by releasing its jazzed up BlackBerry 10 software in South Africa and Nigeria at the same time as other global markets next year. “At a time when Nokia is strengthening its distribution arm in Nigeria and Apple has recently appointed its first official distributor … the opening of the first BlackBerry-branded retail store is a logical step [to remain] the country’s No 1 smartphone vendor,” said Nick Jotischky, an analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media.

And for the consumer there still seems a popular groundswell for RIM’s best known product. Manzo George, a businessman who owns three BlackBerrys, said he had no plans to switch over to an Android phone anytime soon. “When people ask me why not try a new brand smartphone, I tell them there are smartphones and then there are BlackBerrys.”

Outsmarted

The once mighty BlackBerry is no longer a status symbol in western markets, but RIM hopes for a revival on 30 January with the release of its new operating system, BlackBerry 10.

Caught in the crossfire between Apple and Android, RIM has lost market share. Its devices excel at email and instant messaging, making them popular with younger users who cannot afford big phone bills, but the company has been left behind because of its failure to create a smartphone that can efficiently navigate the wider web.

RIM’s worldwide market share stood at nearly 20% in 2009, says research firm Gartner, but has now fallen to 5%. While smartphone sales are booming, RIM’s shipment volumes have fallen 57% in a year, according to IDC resaerch. In June the firm reported its first operating loss since 2004, and set out plans to shrink its headcount by a third, shedding 5,000 jobs.

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Articles

4G Speeds In Nigeria – The Hype vs The Reality

GLO-LOGOOut of curiosity, I enabled the 4G radio on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone for the first time since i got it and was taken aback when i noticed the 4G icon. Expecting it to be a ruse, i decided to give my download speed a test and was pleasantly surprised at what i saw. Download speeds hovered mostly around the 2mbps mark with burst speed breasting the 4mbps mark. Wow! 30 minutes later, i got an even bigger surprise – nothing pleasant here –  i discovered that over 200mb from the 260mb data available on my phone had been zapped!. A data allocation that usually last for a month got used up in 30 minutes?! What?! Within the short period, i had downloaded a 74MB file from Youtube, did multiple speed tests, downloaded softwares and files, enjoying the newly discovered download speeds but forgetting that my data allocation was not unlimited. A text message from Globacom brought me to reality: “Dear Glo subscriber, 47.0Mb of the volume allocated to you is still remaining. Rule your world!”. What?!

This indeed was a new experience for me. I am not a light data user, not by a long shot, but the usual slow 2G and 2.75G speeds (Edge) that has more widespread coverage in Nigeria is, at best, epileptic and unreliably. You can use a 100MB data allocation for months, not because you do not want to use it but because you do not get to use it. Most times, i do not even get to use my data allocation at all, usually relying on WIFI, using the mobile data allocation only while i am on the road.

I enjoyed the 4G experience i had at my workplace, it was very new to me. The last time i experienced speeds like that was in the UK. However, the funny thing is that my home, barely 15 minutes away, could not boast of a reliable 2G connection. That is the fad in Nigeria. The networks  introduce cutting edge technology and make it available only in a sprinkle of locations and spend more money creating a hype out of it, boasting about been the first to do this or that. Recently, Airtel – another Nigerian mobile network, claimed to have completed its 4G trials in Lagos.

I honestly look forward to the day when 4G speeds would be common place in Nigeria. I only hope Jesus wouldn’t come before then. Sigh.

Categories
Gadgets

Airtel Nigeria completes LTE trial In Lagos?

airtelNews coming in suggests that Airtel Nigeria has successfully completed LTE trials in Lagos. Long Term Evolution (LTE), widely accepted as the true 4G, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.

Download speed, under ideal conditions was 37 Megabits per Second (Mbps), while under non ideal conditions, was 32 Mbps; Upload speed was – 10.6 Mbps.

Many in Nigeria take such news from our mobile networks with a pinch of salt. I have always had a problem with Nigerian mobile networks and their quest to be seen as pioneers of latest telecommunication technologies in the country. Most times, it comes at a big cost to subscribers. The funny thing is, these networks can not even boast of successfully deploying 3G services to all parts of the country. Worst still, locations that boasts of 3G services have very epileptic services at best.

At the moment, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the regulatory body for the telecommunication sector in Nigeria decided to place a ban on all promos and lotteries in the Telecoms industry in a bid to improve the quality of the offerings from these networks by curtailing their excessive drive to increase their customer base. However, the ban appears to have created little impact, as service quality remain poor across networks, five weeks after the ban.

As it is, we can only watch and pray for improved services because as with most things in Nigeria, the customers have very little say.

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Lifestyle

LG Anti Mosquitoes Air Conditioners

Went shopping for an Air Conditioning (AC) unit recently. I had my specifications in mind – budget basic function, split unit, with Low voltage start. Overtime, i have come to have a preference for LG products, so it was the brand’s boot i visited first when i visited Cash N Carry, Ikota Shopping Complex, Near VGC, Lagos.

After a quick scan of the different AC units they had on display, the one that caught my eye was the one that had a label on it reading “Anti Mosquito Repellent”. I was hooked. A quick check at the price tag showed a thousand naira shy of N70,000 for the 1.5Hp model. Notwithstanding that it was a little above my budget, i just could not get my eyes off it. The sales lady i queried about the authenticity of the claims being made by LG, Emilia by name, was surprisingly very knowledgeable about the product and verified their claims. She went further to say that this particular series has been selling very well.

I was very impressed with her knowledge of the product.

Fingers crossed, made the purchase, had it installed and waited till nightfall when those blood sucking anopheles mosquitoes come out from their holes to have a taste of blood. Waited…waited…No bites yet. Could this really be true?

Further research revealed that the technology being employed by LG in this series of AC units is called Ultrasonic Wave Technology. Pressing the “anti-mosquito button” on the unit’s remote control causes a speaker within the air conditioner to generate inaudible ultrasonic waves at a frequency of 30 kHz to 100 kHz. Ultrasonic vibrations apparently put pressure on their nervous systems, repelling the mosquitoes or causing immobility.

In the coming days, i will be putting this product into even more intensive use to verify the effective or otherwise of this technology.

PS: A closer search revealed that there are a lot of apps on the Android and iOS platform with similar claims of repelling mosquitoes using ultrasonic waves.

Categories
Entertainment

Still On GOtv

Going back to the DSTV retail shop in Lekki to pick up a GOtv branded cable TV package was not without apprehension and skepticism.

My first visit was not a fulfilling one, I really was not impressed with the picture quality I was shown . Also, no thanks to the limited coverage of GOtv’s signals in Lagos, you are thrown back to last century’s technology with the outdoor antenna you are forced to use to improve reception.

GOtv has two packages, the GOtv and the GOtv plus. The GOtv package hardware is being sold at an introductory price of N8000 and includes 3 months of free viewing for the 26 channels on offer while the GOtv plus hardware is N9500, also with 3 months free viewing for the 33 channels on offer. Subsequent monthly subscription fees is put at N1,000 and N1,500 respectively for the GOtv and GOtv plus packages.


Since my purchase is intended for my kids, I was forced to subscribe to the GOtv plus package because it contains the Disney Junior kiddies channel, their favourite. A summary of the channels available for each pacakage is listed below.

The installation package comes with the decoder, remote controller – the same as the one used for regular DSTV, AV cable and an indoor antennae. For N2,500 more, you are given a basic antennae which should come with a pole.I was swindled out of my pole.Please note that GOtv does not use any Smartcard.

The Installation is quite straightforward. On Lagos mainland, you may not have a need for an external antenna. However, if you live on Lagos Island, you definitely would be needing one.

I could not mount the outdoor antenna yet because of the missing pole. However, carefully placing the antenna on my balcony, i got about 26% signal strength and surprisingly, it was good for viewing with no artefacts.

Overall, i think it is a good buy especially considering the low monthly subscription. The picture quality is comparable to what is being offered on the regular DSTV cable regular packages. I would expect GOtv to speed up the expansion of its coverage area as the external antennaes constitute an eye sore.

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Entertainment

GoTV – Putting The Cart Before The Horse?

GOtvBy now, many would have heard about GoTV, the latest cable TV company in Nigeria and yet another subsidiary of Multichoice, the parent company of DSTV.

Multichoice is a South African company with a near monopoly of the Cable TV industry on the African continent. It has almost 5 million subscribers across the continent with Nigeria being the single country with the highest subscription.

DSTV’s business model can be summed up in this phrase, “No Mercy To Competition”.  They have been noted for muscling out all their competitors, no thanks to the huge resources at their disposal. And unfortunately, the Nigerian Government have not come out in anyway to legislate against their unwholesome practices.

Even though DSTV services is quite popular in Nigeria, it is on record that they have not been able to capture a significant percentage of the Nigerian populace. Excluding hardware fees and installation costs ,monthly subscription fees range from between N4,900 (US$30) to about N10,000 (US$60). Fees that are definitely out of the reach of most the 170 million residents of Nigeria.

A company came up and sought to fill this huge gap in this untapped market. This translated to a partnership between some Chinese entrepreneurs and Nigeria’s network station NTA. A company called Startimes was formed and offered cheap set top boxes and monthly subscription fees of about N1,000 (US$6).

Now, DSTV has decided to muscle out Startimes with its equally cheap cable packages, albeit with superior programming content.

However, in a bid to do this, they rolled out without their structure fully in place to cater for the yearnings of Lagos residents. Perhaps because of the high population density on Lagos mainland, their solution was to site their GoTV transmitters there, leaving the Island with poor reception. This has probably resulted in slow sales.

On inquiry from a sales lady on when a transmitter would be sited on Lagos Island, she replied “month end”. Let’s see how that plays out.

Well, we all know the Chinese for being masters at price wars. Let’s also see if they would fall to the South Africans’ monopolistic business antics.

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