OLLA Mobile launched in Nigeria in Janurary 2020 with a range of entry-level and budget Android smartphones at bargain prices. This created a buzz around the brand in the mobile phone space. Discussions about OLLA phones became fairly common and people began to ask about them, as well as for where to buy them.
Naturally, the brand recorded some sales, but it appears that things might not be so rosy for OLLA phones. We do not have details of what is going on, but OLLA Mobile has been quiet for at least 7 months now.
There is a growing number of owners of OLLA phones who need technical support, including replacement parts, for their devices, but who now have no-one to attend to them. OLLA has no known service centre in Lagos or anywhere else in the country, though the brand is owned by the Opera Group, a Chinese business giant with operations in Nigeria and elsewhere.
Scrolling through OLLA’s Facebook page, we see that as far as April 2020, there were no responses to users’ enquiries for support. To illustrate the situation, here is a screenshot from OLLA Mobiles’ Facebook page:
What could have led to this state of affairs? For one, OLLA Mobile launched at a time when the COVID-19 lockdown kicked off in Nigeria. That would have naturally made things more difficult for them.
In addition, Opera, the owners of OLLA, had a major setback in their Nigeria operations with the Lagos State policy that sent bike hailing services like Oride (owned by Opera), Gokada, and others scampering for life.
Perhaps there is more to the story. Nigeria’s smartphone space is super competitive and difficult to penetrate without extensive legwork. OLLA hasn’t been seen to have done or be doing that either.
What is clear is that barely a year after launch, OLLA phones are hard to find in the market, and support for existing phone owners is even harder.
OLLA phones may just be going the way of Soda phones.
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From 2001 when GSM phones were introduced in Nigeria till date, Mister Mobility has owned and used hundreds of mobile devices running proprietary, Java, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.