Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Nokia Blocked From Doing Business In Nigeria

Nokia Corp. (NOK) may be committed to the Nigerian market, but its operations in the country have been blocked by the Nigerian Communications Commission. The commission in Nigeria said Nokia’s operations were halted, because the company doesn’t have a license to operate there.

“‘They need a sales and installations license,” Tony Ojobo, spokesman of the regulator, told Bloomberg News. “They had started the process about three weeks ago but stopped somewhere.” Ojobo did say Nokia and the commission are in talks about how to resolve the matter. Nokia is required to pay $6,354 for the license, according to the report. In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Nokia said the administrative office in Lagos is temporarily closed and that Nokia is working to rectify the situation.

For years Nokia had been a big supplier of mobile phones in Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populated country. The company lost its prominence a few years ago as other smartphone makers, namely Apple and Samsung Electronics, rose in popularity. Now it is attempting to become a big player in Nigeria again. The country is an attractive market to telecom companies, because Nigerians are buying more smartphones than ever before, which is prompting a build out of mobile networks that are faster. According to Statista, in 2016 the number of smartphone users in Nigeria is expected to hit 15.5 million and grow to 23.3 million by 2019.

The situation in Nigeria is just the latest blow to Nokia in recent weeks as the once dominate mobile phone maker tries to regain some of its luster. Recently, the company has lost two top executives in its technology division, which is charged with bringing Nokia handsets into the market (See, also: Nokia’s Tech Unit Sees Another Top Executive Leave.); has made acquisitions to increase its presence in the Internet of Things market; it acquired Alcatel-Lucent, adopting a huge patent of different technologies and has inked partnerships to get back into the handset market. Its acquisition of Withings, which it announced in April, is also a play in the Internet of Things.

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