How Huawei turned Nigeria’s greatest telecoms vendor and enterprise enterprise

How Huawei turned Nigeria’s greatest telecoms vendor and enterprise enterprise

When Huawei launched in Nigeria in 1999, two years earlier than its telecommunications revolution, only a few individuals may have predicted it could turn out to be the nation’s greatest telecoms vendor and construct one of many nation’s greatest enterprise enterprise. 

In 1999, it entered a market with different big-name gamers just like the Chinese language multinational ZTE, Nokia, the Finnish big, and Sweden-based Ericsson. These corporations authentic tools producers (OEMs) doubled as infrastructure and repair suppliers to telecom corporations like MTN and Airtel. ZTE, for example, was instrumental in building MTN Nigeria’s 2G and 3G networks. 

Whereas ZTE and Ericsson have trimmed their operations within the final twenty years, Huawei has been on the ascendancy, increasing its service and enterprise enterprise. At present, its choices embody networking tools like routers, firewalls, switches, servers, and storage units; it offers knowledge centre options and cloud providers and deploys purposes like cellular wallets for its clients. 

Huawei’s success in Nigeria is right down to a mixture of its pricing technique and a daring resolution to supply end-to-end options to clients in a market the place its rivals typically select specialisation.

“Whereas IBM and Dell are synonymous with storage, and Cisco focuses on networking and safety, Huawei offers all the pieces by competing in each the service and enterprise companies,” an business insider with data of Huawei’s enterprise advised TechCabal.

Huawei declined to touch upon any a part of this story.

A roll-call of formidable initiatives 

Huwaei has offered servers and storage options for prime Nigerian banks like UBA, Zenith, Entry, and Fidelity. Different conventional banks Huawei serves embody Keystone, First Financial institution, Unity Financial institution, UBA, and FCMB. 

In Might 2023, a fire at Zenith Financial institution’s major knowledge heart induced a service downtime, and makes an attempt to change to its catastrophe restoration heart additionally failed, two individuals advised TechCabal. 

That incident is assumed to have satisfied Zenith—a tier-1 financial institution with a market capitalisation of ₦1.1 Trillion—to signal a $10 million cope with Huawei for a storage answer, two individuals with direct data of the deal mentioned.

Chinese language-backed Huawei has secured different important offers in Nigeria. Galaxy Spine, a government-owned web IT shared providers supplier, is certainly one of its greatest purchasers. Huawei is constructing two knowledge facilities for Galaxy, mentioned one particular person accustomed to the challenge.

These knowledge facilities are a part of a broader challenge referred to as the Nationwide Data and Communication Expertise Infrastructure Spine (NICTIB). The primary part of the controversial project was accomplished in 2018 and the second part—valued at $328 million—was additionally contracted to the Chinese language firm. 

Huawei has dealt with initiatives for the Lagos state authorities, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Nationwide Petroleum Company (NNPC), and Ikeja Electrical. It was additionally a Technical Partner for the Nigeria Customs Modernisation Undertaking in 2022.

Earlier than Huawei, there was Ericsson 

Ericsson was the market chief amongst cellular telecommunications distributors in Nigeria since 2009, mentioned one particular person accustomed to the corporate. The Swedish firm’s greatest purchasers had been MTN and Airtel. On the time, Nokia and Alcatel had already misplaced important market share and had been beating a retreat, in line with two individuals with business data.

However issues started to vary in 2014 as Huawei started its march to dominance by poaching a number of Ericsson staff. It then went after its Swedish competitor’s purchasers subsequent.

Huawei had a mannequin: ‘You need to use our tools now, you don’t need to pay straight away,’ mentioned an ex-Ericsson worker. 

“In a short time, they had been in a position to win over numerous the market share that Ericsson had. It was very simple for cellular telecommunication corporations to swap out Ericsson to save lots of prices.” 

Not like Ericsson which solely catered to telcos, Huawei had larger ambitions. 

Jack of all trades

Dealing with managed services is likely one of the most profitable companies within the telecommunication business. Not solely do OEMs receives a commission for upkeep, however they will additionally suggest options to operators that contain shopping for extra providers or tools. Huawei benefitted enormously from this.

Huawei’s major technique is to promote one answer to a consumer after which guarantee it upsells all its different stock, in line with an individual accustomed to the corporate’s considering. “Huawei likes to place itself as the answer for each consumer,” the particular person mentioned. 

Huawei at present presents managed providers to Galaxy, Lagos State authorities on the enterprise aspect, in line with an individual accustomed to the corporate. 

On the telco aspect, its purchasers embody MTN and Airtel. It has additionally constructed knowledge centres for Zenith Financial institution, MTN, Seplat Petroleum, and the Lagos state authorities, in line with one particular person with direct data of the offers.

In 2020, MTN launched a Tier III knowledge heart constructed by Huawei. In 2021, Cloud Trade,  a system integrator IT firm, launched Africa’s first uptime institute tier IV modular prefabricated knowledge heart in collaboration with Huawei.

Huawei additionally presents cloud providers. Opay, the Chinese language fintech, runs on Huawei’s cloud structure, an individual with direct data of the matter mentioned. The cloud enterprise is now a separate enterprise entity, the particular person added.

Huawei’s authorities playbook

Huawei entered the federal government and enterprise enterprise in 2015. The shift to enterprise was strategic, contemplating Nigeria’s place as the corporate’s most necessary African market. “We count on it [Nigeria] to stay the number-one world marketplace for enterprise enterprise,” Frank Li, Huawei Nigeria’s Managing Director on the time, said in a 2018 interview.

The corporate secured an workplace in Abuja, the nation’s capital, the seat of the federal authorities, hoping to construct a stronger relationship with the federal government. That transfer has generated outcomes.

Huawei now handles main contracts for the Nigerian authorities and in 2023, the corporate was awarded the Nationwide Productiveness Benefit Award by the Nigerian authorities.

By August 2004—barely 5 years into the market, Huawei had invested more than $10 million into its Nigerian coaching heart. By 2018, the determine had risen to $76 million. In December 2023, it launched a scholarship program in partnership with the Ministry of Communications, innovation, and digital economic system.

The corporate additionally invests in coaching staff and prioritises data switch. 

But, Huawei’s success story in Nigeria isn’t with out controversy. There have been allegations of poor pay and exploitation of employees at Huawei Nigeria.

In 2022, Nigeria’s Home of Representatives investigated a memorandum of understanding signed by the federal government and Huawei for the Nationwide Data and Communication Expertise Infrastructure Spine (NICTIB).

Regardless of these points, Huawei has been unscathed due to its shut relationship with the federal government,  claimed two individuals accustomed to the corporate. 

One factor is obvious: Huawei is right here to remain. If it retains its market share regardless of the presence of some new upstarts, the corporate will proceed to revenue massively from Nigeria’s enormous telecoms market.

Get one of the best African tech newsletters in your inbox

Read More

Read Previous

Ladies Value Celebrating in Nigeria’s Oil and Fuel

Read Next

Tinubu Appoints NAQS Boss, Vincent Isegbe, for Second Time period

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *