South African smartphone maker AG Mobile makes strategic entry into Nigeria

One of Africa’s first ODM (original design manufacturer), AG Mobile has launched in Nigeria after years of carefully studying the largest consumer market on the continent. Having grown its base in southern Africa, from South Africa to Swaziland, Zambia to Zimbabwe, the mobile phone company says now is the right time to enter the Nigerian market.

“As a proudly African brand we believe that we will bring great value to Nigeria. We’ve started by building relationships with well-respected brands such as MTN, Etisalat, Ringo and Jumia, creating employment opportunities, and supporting the networks’ objectives to advance Nigeria’s connectivity from 2G to 3G,” says Anthony Goodman, AG Mobile CEO.

Goodman says AG Mobile’s launch in Africa’s most populous nation is part of the brand’s expansion strategy to provide more Africans with affordable, quality products.

The Nigerian mobile phone market is saturated as it is, this why South Africa’s AG Mobile has come with competitive pricing and innovative design. Although the ODM has launched nearly 60 device models, it is strategic in its entry, making four smartphones available initially, including AG Style, AG Ghost, AG Zoom and AG Boost. AG Mobile’s devices have passed standard quality tests on devices, including drop, anti-bending, humidity, battery life, reception, call quality, video playback and mobile web tests.

Goodman maintains that the high-level functionality of AG Mobile devices is largely due to an established strategic partnership with MediaTek Inc., a global leader in fabless semiconductor design which also partnerships with mobile phone giant Samsung.

“MediaTek’s smartphone chipset platforms equip our devices with multi-core processors, excellent power efficiency and comprehensive network technologies support. Our relationship is based on shared goals to drive innovation and make technology more affordable and accessible for more people,” the AG Mobile CEO said.

While ensuring that there is no compromise on quality despite the need to keep prices low, AG Mobile has prioritize one of its Nigerian goals. “Our priority is to win the hearts of Nigerians,” Tayshira Santamaria, AG Mobile’s Executive Head of Marketing (Global) told The Nerve Africa.

Apart from offering quality phones with long battery life, AG Mobile is also working on partnering with Nigerian insurer Mansard, to provide insurance cover for AG Mobile phones.

The South African company which owes its growth in Africa to relationships said it had continued this in Nigeria, having entered into distribution partnerships with mobile telecoms giants MTN and Etisalat, Ringo Communications Limited, top online retailer Jumia and independent dealers. Its partnership with telecoms companies position it to foster the activation of Wi-Fi calling service in Nigeria. The smartphone maker is in partnership with Cell C, which is offering Wi-Fi calling services in South Africa.

“While our initial marketing roll-out covers Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano, our reach is national. Our Android, feature-rich devices are available online via Jumia, from MTN and Ringo outlets, as well as independent dealers across the country,” says Goodman.

Santamaria says local content is part of the company’s strategy and it would bring local developers on board to drive this at the right time. The company says it has created 27 direct jobs since entering Nigeria in December 2015.

Although the strengthening of the dollar against other currencies is making production costlier, the Head of Marketing says AG Mobile has managed to maintain the cost of the phone. How long it is able to do this if the situation persists, remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain; AG Mobile knows there are many Android brands in Nigeria already and it needs to warm its way up to the hearts of the people. This, it will do by continuing to offer quality products, competitive pricing and dedicated customer support.