TECH CRAZE AND THE DESIRE FOR PRESTIGE

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Apple announced the Iphone 6 and 6+ last week and on cue there was a digital “apple fan craze” meltdown.

First off, I’m an android guy, I even copped the first Nexus 7 when it wasn’t even in mainstream tech stores in Nigeria. But I’m not here hating on Apple products or the hordes of Apple fans out there, because I’m in agreement that Apple’s products are right up there at the top of the food chain in terms of quality (amongst a host of other tech companies).

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But here’s my problem; whenever a new Iphone is announced the fever it generates down here in Nigeria is downright absurd; People go hungry for months saving up, yahoo boys (internet money swindlers) begin to polish new lines for unsuspecting targets, Sugar Daddies’ phones start to ring as their mistresses count down to September 19th, boyfriends begin to re arrange their budgets and dread “HER” phone call, etc.

This whole shenanigan is absurd for a number of pertinent reasons. Please note that my points apply exclusively to Nigeria.

1. It’s too expensive. 150 thousand naira is a hell lot of money to pay for ONE phone. This amounts to a month’s salary of the middle class income earner in Nigeria.

2. Most of the functions that account for that price are useless in Nigeria. For the most part people just use them to take pictures, browse the internet, watch videos and make calls – things you could do with even the most basic of smart phones these days.

3. The long run cost is ridiculous, because internet provision by the mobile networks here is as horrible as it is myopic and expensive.

If you can afford it by all means do, but it’s not every thing you CAN do you SHOULD do.

Let me explain with this: as much of an android guy as I am, I know for instance that the best, cheapest and widest (in terms of services provide for) internet service is made available for Blackberry and very recently, Android (which by itself is still very expensive). Don’t believe me? Ok look at this.

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Let’s say I use the local network on my blackberry and the daily BBC plan is 100 Naira; that gives me 2.5GB daily right? Now assuming I’m doing this everyday for a month at 2.5GB a day for 30 days, I’ve spent #3000 for 75GB. Let that sink in. 75GB.

Meanwhile, the same network is offering me 4.5GB for a MONTH at 3,500 Naira on an Android device which arguably demands a lot more data than the blackberry what with all the notifications and apps in the foreground and background.

As an Economist LIVING in Nigeria, this does not make sense. But then again spending 150 thousand naira on a phone doesn’t make any sense any way you try to light it.

The simple truth is that the Iphone in Nigeria is largely a status symbol. If you’ve got it then you’re one of the “select few” or you can show just how much money you have to spend. Not that it’s necessarily the best choice for our environment or general economic state or the most cost effective. But hey! As long as I can whip out an iphone you won’t know I haven’t eaten a proper meal since morning now, would you?

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Like I said before, if you can afford it ( and when I say “afford” I mean having the money to buy it now and having the money to spend to actually enjoy it), by all means splurge on it.
The point of my rant isn’t to bash the Iphone because as I said earlier on, it’s a quality product. But we need to be practical, DO THE RESEARCH, count the costs. It’s the companies’ duty to whet your appetite and provide you what you didn’t even know you wanted in the first place and then convince you it’s in your best interest to have it; it’s YOUR responsibility not to drown yourself.

Most importantly it’s about self control. Not just in spending your money, but EVERYTHING else.

Ariel Ugorji

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Ariel Ugorji identifies himself as a mild insomniac, geek, nerd, an audiophile, an avid music lover, Liverpool Fan and an unashamed Christian; with more often than not a completely different point of view on the world and a love for sensible arguments. He Resides in Warri, Nigeria; the land of the sharp and the brave.

To view more of his write ups, please visit his BLOG. You can also share your views with him on twitter @arielugorji.

Do you agree with the authors views on the craze for high tech gadgets in Africa? Please leave your comment

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