Looking for the best phone brands in Nigeria? Samsung and TECNO are the most vibrant and innovative phone brands in Nigeria right now. Let me walk you through my thought process. The other day, I was thinking about my journey in mobile phones from 2001 when I used my first mobile phone, through the shifts and transitions that have taken place till date.
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Nokia topped the list
In the early days of mobile phones in Nigeria, Nokia was my preferred smartphone brand, and for good reason. It was the most vibrant and innovative mobile phone company, not just in Nigeria but in the world. Nokia released tons of phones each year; they had the most cutting edge phones too (Nokia Communicators were the pinnacle of mobile phone development at the time). And they had a phone for every budget. If you were born in 2005, you missed all the fun of the Nokia glory days.
Samsung came second place. Some of my other favourite brands were Ericsson/Sony Ericsson/Sony, TECNO, and BlackBerry. The numbers are clear about that. Here are the numbers for each of the top phone brands that I have owned:
- Nokia: 63 phones
- Samsung: 26 phones
- Ericsson/Sony Ericsson/Sony: 17 phones
- TECNO: 15 phones
- BlackBerry: 14 phones
What dawned on me as I went through the list of my phone history was that it was clear that ever since Nokia dropped off after their glory days, I have not exactly had a preferred smartphone brand. I have sort of drifted here and there, using this and using that. I have no problem using a good phone regardless of the brand behind it, but there is something about that drifting that hasn’t worked well for me.
I see how I have held on to nostalgia and tried to stick with Nokia through this phase. I really love the brand, but what made me love it was how vibrant it was back in the day. Back then, there was a new Nokia phone being released every other week. And there was a Nokia for everyone. These days, you’d be lucky to see a new Nokia phone released every other month, and even when a release happens, there is little to get excited about. No cutting edge features, no excitement. The vibrance of that brand is gone.
So, I started thinking about it some more. And I began to look at what smartphone brand I would likely adopt going forward. It has to be a company that is as vibrant today as Nokia used to be. Who will replace Nokia in my life? I can’t believe I am saying it, but yes, I am consciously looking to replace Nokia. I know: I sound like a hopeless romantic trying to move on from an old lover whose flame has died out, yeah? Feel free to call the police. It is what it is.
Other phone brands down the list
The logical thing is to look down the list of the top phone brands I have used. Samsung is in 2nd place. Sony (formerly Sony Ericsson) is in 3rd. TECNO is in 4th, and BlackBerry is in 5th place. Since BlackBerry is dead and gone, we are left with three contenders, in this order:
This makes it easier. Unfortunately, I have to drop Sony off as well, because while they are still in operation, there is little excitement around their products any more. Plus, Sony smartphones are harder to find in the Nigerian market than it is to find a needle in a haystack. That leaves me with Samsung and TECNO.
Samsung and TECNO
Both these two brands are well qualified. They are both prolific manufacturers, releasing interesting and exciting smartphones for every conceivable price bracket. Their devices are also widely available. And they are both pushing the boundaries of innovation.
Samsung was the first smartphone company to open up the foldable market, and it held a monopoly of that for years. But did anyone think that TECNO would be making foldables so soon? Think about it: TECNO had a foldable out before Google, Nokia, Apple, and a host of others. Of the phone brands that are active in Nigeria, if you want a foldable smartphone today, it is either a Samsung or a TECNO. If you want a foldable from any other brand, you have to import it.
Anyway, I am sure you get the picture. Nobody in the know will argue it: Samsung and TECNO are the most innovative smartphone companies operating in Nigeria today. And that’s that on Mary had a little lamb. But does that reflect in their market shares? Let’s see.
Top or Best Smartphone Brands in Nigeria in 2023
Here are the top smartphone brands in the country by market share:
That’s how much phone brands in Nigeria were selling in 2023, and as you can see, it is TECNO and Samsung that held the top two spots. Counterpoint and Canalys are my sources. On both counts of innovation and sales, TECNO and Samsung have the rizz.