For a long time, I have struggled with the thought of writing this article. The launch of the Itel P56 series just confirmed my fears; I think Itel is losing its grip on the Nigerian Smartphone market. Why? Let’s find out.
Itel Mobile is one of the Transsion Holding company, meaning it is a sister company to Infinix Mobility and Tecno Mobile. Those two have dominated smartphone sales year after year in Africa as they churn out closely related devices.
While they aim to compete at a much higher level, Itel restricted itself to the very bottom of the entry level market. Though it may not be a bad strategy it sure didn’t help them and consumers only took Itel seriously after the release of the Itel P51, its first 5000 mAh smartphone then.
The Itel P51 was so popular and it provided a good foundation for the Itel P32 and P33 plus to sell too. But the problem was, Itel smartphones were still under appreciated because many of their A series devices had poor specifications, I wonder who even purchases them. In this article, I addressed the issue but well, it was just an opinion.
Being someone who knew about these new devices, I often had to purchase phones for some persons close to me as a side gig. Whenever I recommend Itel products, it was always met with stiff rejections. Heck, most users were ready to purchase Umidigi smartphones if there available in retail stores than give Itel a chance.
The reasons were simple enough; Itel devices don’t come close to their peers in terms of designs, features, and specifications. Doubt it? How many Itel devices can you compare with even the Umidigi, Redmi, Infinix Hot Series, and even Tecno Spark series?
The S15 series really did come out as an amazing device. The design was too beautiful I thought Tecno had mistakenly rebranded one of their Spark devices as an Itel phone.
“16MP selfie camera, wow! Nice, Itel is staging a comeback”, I said to myself as I went through its specifications. Then I got to the battery specifications and froze… 3000mAh. Camera freaks may have gotten the device but I know many people that opted for other phones because of poor battery. This is Nigeria, we no dey get light.
Well, all the good done by the S15 design were obliterated by the bulky design and large bezels on the 3G iTel A56 in 2020. Even the Tecno Pouvior 3 Air that had the same large bezels was 4G enabled and had a larger battery.
The signing of Olamide to bring exposure was a nice move, after all, the Baddo himself had a large loyal fan base. It follows Infinix signing of Davido, and Tecno getting Wizkid onboard.
But it seems like Olamide has much work to do because even the recently released Itel P36 and P36 Pro Android phones just won’t cut it. It is mid-2020 and Itel chooses to release a 3G device running on Android 9 Pie with 1.3GHz quad core processor. How do you convince your fans to buy that?
The P36 Pro that is 4G enabled isn’t any better as the 1.6GHz device with Android 9 is expected to compete with Tecno Spark 5 and Infinix Hot 9 Play that has better specifications and processors and Android 10. Heck, even the Tecno Spark 4 and Infinix Smart 3 Plus will beat this device. And it costs around N43500!!!!!!
People as getting smarter and they now know more about smartphone’s specifications and features than before. Itel is only taking itself out of the race with this reserved approach. Even Tecno and Infinix have upped their game and have started churning out better devices.
Itel was ranked as the 17th most admired brand in Africa last year, (they even bragged about it during the P36 launch) but this year, it has lost that spot and is now the 21st most admired brand. (You can check the report here). I guess they may not put this setback in their timeline.
Oh, getting information on Itel’s devices sometimes feels like sorcery as you have to conjure information based on what is likely to be there. If you have you gone over to Itel’s website to hunt for information on their gadgets you will understand.
To be sincere, Itel’s popularity may have largely be influenced by its feature phones. Those phones are so popular it is like almost every neighborhood has at least one. The prices are reasonable, the batteries are long-lasting and I have one too (It5606).
Itel needs to go back to the drawing board and offer a 4G Android 10 device soon. Google has already started preparations for Android 11 and it seems like Itel may not come on board that ship until we have Android 13.
Also, we are tired of 1.3GHz and 1.6GHz smartphones, signing celebrities to push your brand is great but word-of-mouth advertising had always prevailed in this industry. Thank you.