After eleven years of exciting growth, the mobile technology market in Nigeria is in swift acceleration still, as it remains one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world.
Undeniably, Smartphone manufacturers, such as Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung, Apple and Nokia are competing fiercely to dominate one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world, where investments in local content such as online directories, maps, movies, music and games, are still in short supply. However, in recent times, local content is seen by industry watchers as the key that will fast-track adoption of smartphones, thereby increasing broadband penetration, which will ultimately boost data services in a cluttered mobile voice market.
Thus far, very few mobile phone manufacturers, mobile operators or service providers are investing in locally relevant content and mobile applications that have become essential tools for leading a healthy, happy and productive life. For this reason, many phone users are completely unaware of the full range of potential services they can enjoy through their mobile phones.
Concerted efforts at boosting local content, have become a priority for mobile operators in Nigeria to tap into a potential goldmine, with MTN being the first to identify the enormous prospect inherent in the local content service in Nigeria, and has shown commitment through the recent introduction of MTN Afrinolly.
Recall that, in 2011, MTN, the leading telecommunications company inaugurated a quarterly networking and ideas generating session for local mobile applications developers in the country, as part of efforts to stimulate and grow local content in the telecommunications sector. The inaugural edition of the forum tagged ‘MTN Ideas Forum,’ brought together local mobile application developers, mobile device manufacturers, leading internet business players and telecoms equipment suppliers.
MTN Afrinolly which was developed in 2011 is a first of its kind mobile application developed for Nigerians, Africans and lovers of African entertainment worldwide. The application aggregates the latest information on African movie entertainment, giving mobile phone users access to latest African movie trailers, music videos, comedy and more.
Available for free to Blackberry, Android and Nokia phone users, MTN Afrinolly enables users to read entertainment news and gossip, track celebrities, listen to music and share it with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, it provides mobile access to exclusive MTN content through the Y’ello Centre; a multi-media portal with a variety of downloadable local content, including videos and music from Kulture Fest and Project Fame, amongst others.
Wale Goodluck, Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria, emphasized the dynamism of the Nigerian mobile market, pointing out that MTN as the market leader is on top of trends within the industry.
According to him, learning, entertainment, social networking, health services and financial services are all going mobile, and as such, applications have emerged as a fundamental enabler of lifestyle and productivity as consumers want to access relevant content on the go on their mobile devices.
He added that although mobile handsets are getting smarter and more accessible due to the increasing availability of ultra low cost Smartphones with improved user interface, there is very limited local mobile-content in Nigeria. “MTN is keen on becoming a frontline player in the application development space. This informed the idea of an interactive platform called the MTN Ideas Forum which was borne out of MTN recognizing the fact that a fast growing portfolio of mobile applications would be fuelled by efficient developer ecosystem”.
MTN Afrinolly is exclusively branded for MTN customers who love Nigerian and African entertainment. MTN invested in the creation of a premium version of the app for its customers offering unfettered access to all its features, especially the unique Y’ello Centre, which is a special part of the app that allows them access to entertainment content from MTN such as downloadable music videos from Project Fame and other MTN sponsored entertainment related programmes.
Non-MTN subscribers can only have access to the basic model of the app, which is limited to five content segments. The availability of the basic version of the MTN Afrinolly app to all Nigerians, irrespective of mobile phone network is increasing mobile application consciousness in the Nigeria, thereby stimulating local content development.
With a plush yellow background, incorporating a touch of black and grey colours, the mobile phone based MTN Afrinolly app has a great user interface. In spite of its heavy graphical content, the app is easy and fast to download, compared to other apps in its category.
Its unique selling point is that it makes it easy to access local and relevant content as it relates to movies, music videos, celebrity news and social media platforms. The app also serves as a platform for promoting user-generated content such as movie reviews and ratings, thus empowering users to express their opinions about movies, music videos, or favourite celebrities.