South Africa and Nigeria will be amongst the first wave of countries to receive the BlackBerry 10, testifying to the importance of the two African nations to developers Research in Motion (RIM).
Africa has showed aggressive mobile phone penetration in the last one decade, with BlackBerry continuing to perform well even as it loses its grip on market share across the rest of the world. In Africa, RIM has possibilities for growth that it may not elsewhere.
Nigeria’s smartphone penetration is just 5 percent, but with RIM the number one brand in the country with half the market, it stands to benefit from the smartphone rollout. RIM says that brand momentum is growing in Nigeria.
In South Africa, meanwhile, the company says people are loyal to BlackBerry, topping the list of smartphone providers, mainly on the back of its popular instant messaging service BBM.
RIM Africa’s managing director, Bob Bose said: “BBM penetration in South Africa is among the highest in the world with 98 percent of the local BlackBerry user base using BBM. It is the most downloaded free app from BlackBerry App World in South Africa.”
In an interview with Arthur Goldstuck on Gadget.co.za, RIM’S chief executive officer Thorsten Heins said that BlackBerry penetration will make a positive impact in South Africa as it offers a platform for social interaction.
“First and foremost, we appreciate the strong commitment of our customers to us in South Africa. This is a very, very successful market. It is a clear number one market for us, but not the only one,” Heins said.
Bose explained the trick of BlackBerry’s success in Africa.
“We focus on direct engagement with the youth through campus events, campus ambassadors, secret gigs, extensive advertising, and competitions such as the recent ‘Touch Awesomeness’ campaign,” he explained.