Our Insatiable Lust for Phones.

Advertisements these days are targeted towards visual appeal. Without visual appeal, I doubt if most of us will purchase anything. For the past few months, I have been studying our purchasing patterns within a developing economy such as Nigeria.

The Telecommunication industry has witnessed a huge growth since inception. Service providers such as MTN, Celtlel, Globacom, PTO’s have succeeded in attracting major industry players such as Nokia, Ericcsson, Siemens, and Samsung into the Nigerian market. Some few months ago, Nokia reported an incredible sales figure of 1billion phones within Africa. Financial analysts have predicted that Nigeria and the rest of Africa will provide the needed growth for these organizations.

What has this translated to? It has caused an insatiable lust for phones of varying sizes, functions and architectural build. In reverse, we have suddenly become a consumerist nation, buying anything that appeals to us, invariably draining our pockets as a result of our misguided actions.

I know of individuals who have three to four mobile phones (different brand names), subscribing to the services of different mobile service providers and also spending a huge amount of money on servicing these phones. Let me give you an instance, my brother-in-law sometime ago decided to run an audit on his mobile line with a particular company. He got in touch with one of his friends who’s a call agent and asked for this personal information. Want to know what figures he came up with? It was a whooping N1.8mn within a year. Imagine what that money would have earned if it were sitting in a fixed account or an investment portfolio.

I never cease to be amazed when peers and colleagues change phones at will and spend a huge amount over phone bills. You might want to conduct an audit for your mobile lines.

I usually advise friends that if you are spending a lot on phone bills and you are not receiving or generating an income that will cover the cost of these calls; then you have no business making a call in the first place. Make use of cheaper alternatives such as SMS, email or instant messaging. I understand from my research that messages can be sent online at no cost to a phone.

Try to do without your mobile phones for a day and see the incredible savings you would have made over the week. I use an official line with a monthly credit of N5,000. I stretch this amount over a month and possibly atimes into the following month by limiting my calls per day and using SMS as a means of communicating with family or peers. I do not make a call except it’s really important, an emergency or I need an immediate answer. I also for now do not need a personal line till I change jobs or resign.

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