“Shift happens” is the two-word phrase that fully captures the Nigerian GSM turf, especially with the astounding leap from the pre-2001 pent-up demand to becoming one of the fastest growing market in the world. The teledensity ratio experienced an astronomical leap from 0.73% to 35% mid-2008! It is easier to get a SIM on a Lagos street than a sachet of pure water. This may sound like an exaggeration but this is the irony of a market that has experienced more of a big-bang revolution than a progressive step-by-step evolution.
The best of analysts were shocked that their best forecasting models failed to fully capture the opportunity in the then virgin Nigerian market. US-based Pyramid Research has learnt that there are exceptional markets where modern extrapolations do not work. Vodafone Group is the worst hit. Its due diligence failed to see the profundity of the Nigerian market and this explains its permanent loss of its regional leadership and its aggressive quest to stage a comeback.A popular telco expert has described the Nigerian market as a byzantine maze that demands some illogical inspiration and magical energy to navigate through. This is nothing less than the truth!
With a total subscriber base of 49,606.659 million at the end of June 2008, Nigeria remains Africa’s largest telecoms market. (NCC June 2008 Report)The market, though very young has caught the KGOY bug with very quick adoption of trends that are exclusively known with matured market, especially in key evolutionary milestone. From per second billings to 3.5G deployment, the almighty number portability and evolution of MVNOs seems closer than expected.
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