The Nigerian mobile phone market continues to attract device manufacturers from all over the world thanks to the large, mobile-centric population in the country.
Year after year, the number of phones sold in Nigeria is increasing as the country moves to bridge the digital divide.
According to global research firm Counterpoint, smartphone sales in Nigeria grew 81% year-on-year in 2021, driven by pent-up demand and the entry of new Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
- With active mobile subscriptions increasing by more than 10 million this year according to data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), more phones may have been sold in Nigeria this year despite the economic hardship.
- However, the high demand for phones in Nigeria has created a vibrant market for sellers of imitation and non-standard phones. The NCC has repeatedly warned that such phones may be harmful to the health of users and also affect the quality of the network that users get.
- Meanwhile, the used phone market is also booming, with lots of used phones from UK, US, and other countries finding their way into the Nigerian market.
- This has led the telecom regulator to raid some shops to catch some sellers of phones that have not been subject to type approval processes.
- According to the NCC, as of November this year, 1,891 phones have been approved for the Nigerian market. The devices, which are of different brands and models, have been tested by NCC and have met applicable type approval criteria required for sale to consumers in Nigeria.
- These endorsements give a fair idea of the number of phone models sold in Nigeria and which brand has the most number of phones in the market. Nairametrics took a look at the NCC’s consent database. The top 10 mobile phone brands in Nigeria are highlighted below by the number of their phones approved so far.
12. iPhone (24 models)
Apple iPhones are not as commonly used by Nigerians as other brands because of their price. But many Nigerians who want to “belong” and can’t afford a new iPhone are turning to used foreign versions.
Despite this, most of the iPhone models have received regulatory approvals to be sold in Nigeria. As of November, 24 iPhone models have been approved by the NCC.
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11. Xiaomi (34 models)
Xiaomi, another Chinese mobile phone brand, announced its entry into the Nigerian market in April 2019 with the launch of Redmi Note 7 in Lagos. The company has since introduced several other models of its phones in the market. As of last count, Xiaomi now has a total of 34 models sold in the country.
10. Vivo (36 models)
Vivo is currently one of the top global smartphone manufacturers in terms of smartphone shipments. In August 2019, Vivo celebrated its entry by introducing its first range of smartphones in Nigeria – the Y series which comprises four generations, Y15, Y17, Y11 and Y12 respectively. Since then, the brand has increased its device offerings in Nigeria, with 36 models approved.
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9. Oppo (38 models)
OPPO officially launched its brand in Nigeria on April 26, 2019. Since then, it has continued to roll out its devices across the country. OPPO is very popular with its Reno series and has been well established in the Nigerian market to be one of the leading smartphone vendors in the country. The total number of certified devices of the brand on the market as of November this year was 38.
8. Jeony (Models 42)
Founded in 2002, Gionee is a Chinese high-tech enterprise engaged in mobile device design, research and development (R&D), manufacturing, sales in international markets and providing mobile Internet application services.
Gionee entered the Nigerian mobile market in August 2013 with the launch of the E6 of ELIFE series of smartphones. The brand now has a total of 42 models of its devices approved for the Nigerian market.
7. ZTE (46 models)
Although ZTE has been operating in Nigeria since 2002 as a telecom operator reseller, the company has become the largest supplier of phones to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) providers like Starcomms, Multilinks and the rest. While CDMA operators are no more, ZTE has also shipped smartphones to the Nigerian market. As of November 2022, the company has a total of 46 devices approved for the market.
6. Infinix (83 models)
Also, from China’s Transsion Group, Infinix entered Nigeria in 2013 and continued to produce a series of smart devices in the market. Known for its dual SIM devices along with affordability compared to other brands, the Chinese phone brand is one of the leading brands in the country today. The phone models approved for the market are 83 as of November.
5. Itel (107 models)
Itel, a member of Chinese Transsion Group, officially entered the Nigerian market in February 2007 with the launch of its iNote series of smartphones targeting the African market with high product performance and reasonable prices. Today the company competes favorably in the low-end smartphone market in Nigeria. According to NCC data, there are a total of 107 Itel phone models in the Nigerian market today.
4. Samsung 191
Like Nokia, Samsung was among the first group of mobile phone brands to conquer the Nigerian market at the beginning of the GSM revolution. While the brand is known for its high-end smartphones, its feature phones were among the top selling devices in Nigeria in the early days of GSM. Today, Samsung is one of the leading brands in the country with 191 models of its phones certified so far by NCC in proportion to the market.
3. Huawei (139 models)
Huawei is a world famous telecommunications equipment supplier. Interestingly, its mobile manufacturing prowess is also top notch as it is now one of the leading manufacturers of mobile phones in the world. The company started manufacturing mobile phones in 2003 and the first batch of mobile phones were introduced to the Nigerian market in 2005. To date, Huawei has a total of 139 devices certified for the Nigerian market.
2. Nokia (311 models)
Nokia was one of the first mobile phone brands to come to Nigeria. The brand entered the market at the beginning of the GSM revolution in 2001 along with other brands such as Trium, Sagem, Sendo, Samsung, Motorola, and others. Among the first batch of Nokia phones shipped to Nigeria was the popular Nokia 3310, which many found to be more powerful than other models and more durable. While Nokia has since lost its market grip in Nigeria and globally even with a series of ownership changes, the brand still has the second highest number of phones approved in the Nigerian market today at 311.
1.Techno (358 models)
One of the first Chinese mobile phone brands to enter Nigeria, Tecno entered the market in 2006 with a quest to provide affordable phones to Nigerians. Many Nigerians, who could not afford expensive smartphones at that time, found support for the brand, which also caters to the market by making its devices dual SIM.
Today, Tecno, the firstborn of the Transsion Group’s mobile trio, which includes Infinix and iTel, has the highest number of models approved for the Nigerian market. According to NCC data, Tecno leads other brands with a total of 358 models of its devices in the market.