Price of smartphones continue to keep millions of Nigerians offline
The high price of smartphones has continued to keep millions of Nigerians off the internet. A study carried out by Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in 187 countries shows that in countries like Nigeria, It has to take 45 percent of monthly income which is almost half of the salary of an average earner per month while the global cost is 26 percent of monthly income.
The average cost of smartphone globally is around 26 percent of an average monthly income which is about $104.
However, this percentage of affordability varies between regions and countries which have made smartphones inaccessible to many which Nigeria is not excluded.
A4AI is a global body working to bring down the price of internet access in low-and middle –income countries of the word.
The report shows that in regions like Latin America, it will take 14 percent of monthly income to afford the cheapest smartphone in the market while in North America it drops even to 2 percent showing low affordability.
The cheapest smartphone in Nigeria according to A4AI is #20,000 which will take low income earners months to afford.
Paddy Ezeala, a Public Affair Analyst noted that smartphones are imported in Nigeria from other countries and if the currency did not meet up with foreign currency, it will be costly for an average Nigerian to afford because the price will definitely be high.
According to Paddy, financial and economic activities are carried out on smartphones and if people are shut off the internet as a result of prices, it is akin to talking about the digital economy without the infrastructure.
“The unaffordability of smartphones will delay Nigerians especially the youth to fit into the modern economic era because smartphones have become the major platform for modern transactions and without it, they can’t fit in very well,” Paddy said.
He noted that Nigerians should start assembling their own made smartphone products to help in reduction of price and the government should put more effort to encourage the IT sector to enable domestic production of smartphones which will enable price reduction and also help economic growth.
However research also shows that Nigerian men are more likely to have an internet connection than women.
Research from Web foundation shows that there is a 50 percent possibility that poor women in urban areas in ten developing countries are less likely to afford a smartphone which comes as a result of lack of technical literacy and high cost of connection.
According to A4ai, Girls and women in Nigeria are 40 percent less likely to have access to the Internet than men, and support from the government and private sector is critical in closing this gap. The Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) programme, initiated through the Ministry of Communications and Technology, supports projects seeking to bridge the gender gap in digital access and empowerment.
A smartphone is a device that combines mobile telephone and computing functions into one unit. They are differentiated from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating system, which facilitate wider softer internet including web browsing over mobile broadband and multimedia functionality including music, videos, cameras and gaming alongside other phone functions including voice calls and text messaging.