Will Africa Save BlackBerry?

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In a recent article,  “Can Africa Save BlackBerry?”, Douglas Imaralu recounted Blackberry’s history in Africa, from it’s time of glory to the current situation.  He described how at first, BlackBerry found in Africa a large population who craved the “reasonably priced, fast, multimedia communication” that BlackBerry devices were able to offer them, and said that although BlackBerry is is not as prominent in Africa as it was before, it still has a strong presence, especially in South Africa and Nigeria.

“Currently, Africa and the Middle East account for 40 percent of BlackBerry’s total revenue. The phone maker owns 48 percent of the mobile market in South Africa and 70 percent of the Smartphone market. Three percent of BlackBerry users worldwide are Nigerian. African markets also offer a huge amount of room in which to expand and dominate. Africa’s mobile adoption is estimated to grow by 85 percent, or 900 million subscribers, over the next three years. According to research by Vodacom, BlackBerry has more customers in Africa than Android and iOS combined. In fact, BlackBerry says its devices account for half the Smartphones in Nigeria.”

So not only is BlackBerry a well recognized brand in Africa with a strong presence, Africa itself is an emerging market that’s expected to grow by 900 million subscribers over the next three years, which is about a third of the entire Unites States’ subscriber base; Africa is a market that can not be ignored.

BBM is already seeing strong adoption by the population in Africa, evidenced in part by last week’s news that MTN Nigeria Launched BBM Data Plans for iPhone, Android and Others.  MTN weren’t the first to do it and they won’t be the last, because a BBM data plan means an affordable way to have unlimited secure, instant messaging services without worrying about extra data costs.  People have been asking for these plans since BBM became available on both the Android and Iphone app stores, and it’s being downloaded by the millions.

Apart from Africa being strong on BlackBerry devices and BBM, we are also seeing a new trend reported to be growing at a fast pace in Africa; the expansion of the mobile money market. We can get a good sense of this from a recent post by David Cotriss of CNBC.com; “A World Where People Still Dream of a New BlackBerry:”

“BlackBerry is even now pitching itself as a potential money-transfer service of the future, and that raises an interesting parallel, because the market in which mobile money has grown the most rapidly is Africa, which also happens to be one of the last places in the world where people still yearn for a new BlackBerry.”

So, having said all this, is Africa going to save BlackBerry?  It seems it will play a big part for sure, but Africa won’t be alone; Indonesia, Singapur, India and many others will also lend a hand.

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