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Big plans for Nigeria’s Slot Systems – Nnamdi Ezeigbo
Nnamdi Ezeigbo, Chief executive of Slot Systems talks to The Africa Report about his company’s challenges and successes. He also reveals his intention to open new stores across Nigeria as part of Slot Systems’ expansion plans. “In the next five years, we’re talking about going to other parts of Africa, not just Nigeria” says Ezeigbo.
The Africa Report:How many stores does Slot Systems have in Nigeria?
Slot Systems Ltd was established in 1998 as an ICT company, selling computers, maintenance and accessories. In 2001, when GSM came into Nigeria, I visited South Africa and I saw what GSM was like, I was one of the first companies to start selling GSM phones in Nigeria. Now we have 20 flagship retail stores. Our model is to set up Slot flagship stores in every city in Nigeria. The whole concept is to take our service to the doorsteps of our customers.
Are you in competition with the mobile operators?
The Nigerian market is an open market, it’s not the standard market you have overseas. The carriers don’t have the market for the devices. We have taken the market for the devices from them. They cannot compete with us. The prices of the devices are 30-40 percent cheaper in our stores compared to what MTN and Glo are selling. We can bring in more volume, we can make payments faster. They are big companies and their protocols and procedures are different.
You sell Apple iPhones and iPads that are not officially on sale in Nigeria. Where do you get them from?
For now, we bring them from the UK because Apple has not come into Nigeria yet. They’re dragging their feet. It’s only Apple that we bring from the UK, the other [devices], they’re distributed here in Nigeria. We have distributors for Samsung, we have LG distributors. We are not servicing the low-income customers who want to buy fake phones. Our market is for the middle-class and the premium customers.
Will data plans kick-off in Nigeria?
The awareness is increasing for data plans. Young people are crazy about data plans because they can save money, it’s cheap. For N1,000 ($6) you can have a data plan to use your BlackBerry. We do BlackBerry data plans for a month with MTN, Zain, Glo, with all the networks.
Where will Slot Systems be in the next five years?
In the next five years, we’re talking about going to other parts of Africa, not just Nigeria. We are looking at the same model as Carphone Warehouse in the UK. When we have 30-50 retail stores, then we can go to the operators and say we want to do this promo with you. We can have specific promotions through our retail stores, with some plans peculiar to us.