Telcos target $512m revenue in e-learning market amid knowledge shortfall
by Ben Uzor & Kelechi Ewuzie
August 5, 2014 | 12:00 am| | | Start Conversation
Telecommunications companies in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by GDP, are making significant in-roads into the global electronic learning market, with projected revenues of $512.7 million by 2016, through the development of mobile education services and strategies to fill the recognisable knowledge gap in the country’s educational system, industry insiders have said. Some market observers are of the view that operators’ foray into the country education sector is a move in desperation.
Revenues from voice services are declining rapidly, they said, adding mobile networks are under pressure to open up fresh revenue streams. As at December 2012, the national monthly Average Revenue per User (ARPU) was N912 ($6), an 87.5 percent decrease from its 2003 level of N6,384 ($48).The fundamental shift in the industry from a voice to a data/internet dominated environment is threatening the viability of most operators. Despite the rise in data usage, value still lags in the Nigerian market. According to market observers, telcos are looking for fresh opportunities, and the education sector seems a viable prospect. Nigeria has a growing population of consumers seeking knowledge and platforms that could help attain requisite skills and values. The youth cover up 70 percent of the Nigerian population (167 million).
Africa has the highest mobile learning growth rate in the world with Nigeria being one of the critical drivers of the growth rate witnessed across the continent, according to a New Ambient Insight Report. The growth rate is 38.9 percent, the highest in the world, where revenues will grow more than five times to reach $530.1m by 2017, up from the $102.4m reached in 2012, according to the report. Mobile devices are now the primary computing devices used by consumers in Nigeria.
Accessing the web on an Internet-enabled feature phone or a smartphone is often a user’s first Internet experience, in what is often referred to as a Post-PC experience. For many people in Nigeria, mobile learning is their primary learning technology and they may never be exposed to other learning products.
In view of this, mobile operators are introducing innovative and reasonably priced data bundles and packages to aid learning on smartphones and tablets. Telecoms operators however say that developing countries today especially those who see education as a priority, but with weak educational infrastructure and systems, are beginning to embrace e-learning as viable alternative. South Africa’s MTN Nigeria only recently introduced the MTN Education Bundle, in strategic partnership with Intel Corporation.
The service is designed to make learning a fun and most rewarding experience for students. MTN Nigeria still remains the dominant player in Nigeria’s highly competitive telecoms industry with a subscriber base of 57.2 million, representing 45 percent of market share. United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Etisalat also launched Cliqlite into the Nigerian market – a product with unique features and an intuitive interface for electronic learning.
Matthew Wilsher, chief executive officer, Etisalat Nigeria, says, the company is driven by a sustained commitment to enriching customer experience noting that Innovation remains part of the company DNA adding that technology has the potential to revolutionise learning.
Ben Uzor & Kelechi Ewuzie
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