by Ayo Dada
I used to work for a company called Audiovox & the co was later bought by Personal Communication Service (PCS) Wireless Inc, that “make” cellphones. Among the phones that they produced is ‘side-kick’ that takes inspiration from cobra. A sick-kick phone flips to open like a cobra.
I want to generally categorize a cellphone parts into 7 main sections :
- Main board; (PC) Communication board; comprising of the CPU, Modems, memory etc
- Accessories; Speaker, Gyro, Mic, Fingerprint sensors, cameras, flash, GPS, etc
- Cosmetic Coverings: Front & back
- A company must at least be involved in the production/integration of one of the above in order to qualify as a cell phone manufacturer.
- Operating Firmware & Software – Almost all the parts of 1-6 (the hardware) come from manufacturers outside of the USA; China, Mexico, Venezuela etc…. but they must get certified to meet the USA standard.
For instance, Apple was using Apple branded CPUs made by Samsung, before switching to Taiwanese TSMC made CPUs on the Apple iPhone main boards, while Qualcomm makes the iPhone modems. The point is that manufacturing of cellphones is not rocket science & does not require reinventing the wheel. All that is required to start is the team of qualified engineers to design, qualify & test the integration of the parts to ensure it meets International Telecom standard & the standard for the country of use. So, this is to say that the manufacturing of cellphones is not actually beyond the competence of Nigerians.
Cellphone carriers on the other hand, like T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T in the USA (similar to MTN, Etisalt) don’t have to make cellphones. All that telecom carriers do is to approach manufacturers that will tailor the manufacturing for them. Two major area of change will be :
i. The Cosmetic Coverings (Front & back) to carry the company logo. Even my alma matter, ACA, can do this for the right price if there is enough volume. These can even be printed with 3D-printer by an elementary school student.
ii. Software & Firmware (internal programs) that will access the appropriate wireless comm (3G, 4G, LTE , 5G) and also wake up with the company specific welcome/logo
MY QUESTION IS: Which part of 1-7 did ITF produce from the locally sourced materials?
ITF could be proved right/wrong by simply dismantling one of the 12 display models by PMB.
NOTE: The package box does not count, because I know my industrious brodas at Alaba maket can produce that one locally within a few days.
”So, this is to say that the manufacturing of cellphones is not actually beyond the competence of Nigerians”
– Dr. Bunmi Adeola
The incompetence of, or lack of basic knowledge of some of the officials of President Buhari’s government is frightening. There is a huge knowledge gap between those in position of leadership, their job expectations, and the realities on the streets.
So Otunba Niyi Adebayo, who probably does not know there are several made by Nigerians thriving phones, took some phones to the President and labels them the first made in Nigerian phone.
This is more like a lack of research, they could have said it’s the first govt backed indigenous phone.
Take Lai Mohammed for instance, the way his twitter ban was and is being handled is like his understanding of the entire Social Media space is along the mindset of our local TV and Radio stations like NTA and OSRC. Even his entire understanding of governance is along the precepts of lordship versus servants. So, subliminally, he cannot understand the complexities of the use of the medium and the adverse consequences of such action on the nation, economically and politically. This is an administration that does not like to be held accountable or challenged.
After new handsets are released, the companies normally open it up and give a demo of the inner compartments and workings of their product etc. One would have expected Mr. Adebayo to have done this with the engineers, only he know why this didn’t happen so as to keep the “NAYSAYERS” satisfied. (TRANSPARENCY)
Also, one would need a customized mold and top notch mini assembly plant to produce just the cover of a handset. If government has such a mold, it is the plant the minister should be showcasing from to Nigerians and not just the phone. That’s another point.
Many are still not clear about where we are in terms of cell phone, solar panel, or SIM card technology, therefore, I have some questions on this.
- Are we saying we assemble the parts here, as in assemble imported CKD (COMPLETE KNOCK DOWN) of the 3 products– solar panel, cell phones, SIM card?
- If yes, what percentage of the CKD do we import?
- What percentage of the finished product is locally ~sourced~ produced here in Nigeria.
- The locally produced component in (3) above, is it also imported CKD or actually manufactured in Nigeria.
I ask these questions because SIM card production requires high tech knowledge of IC wafer production.
It would be a good thing if Nigeria has attained such height, therefore, the honorable minister, Adebayo should give Nigerians answers to these questions.
If someone says they produce or manufacture something as a public servant. Where you lunch such from to show the people, is the production plant. If you merely present a finished product, those with some knowledge of the production, who also know how similar finished products are obtained will second guess you. This is even more so when one knows that Nigerians have already been making smart phones
Here is the link to the story – https://technologytimes.ng/made-in-nigeria-smartphones/
This will be a very good development if the answers to the questions are positive, to assure the doubters, then the administration should invest in it and build more production plants across the country to ease the unemployment rate.
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