Why WhatsApp will not replace SMS in Nigeria anytime soon

Telcos in Nigeria reportedly planned to block OTT players including WhatsApp, Skype and others from operating on their platforms because they were incurring huge losses from the operations of these OTTs. According to the report, the telcos planned to reach a ₦20 trillion annual revenue from this action.

As backwards as this sounds, it seemed to justify and buttress a point; that OTTs and the commonly used WhatsApp in particular were eventually edging out text messaging.

For all the appeal of a situation where WhatsApp has taken over, it is untrue. WhatsApp will not replace SMS in Nigeria as the choice messaging platform in the nearest future.

Internet Penetration

Nigeria still has a lower than average  internet penetration. As of 2015, internet users in the country stood at 97.2 million, a number not up to half of the general populace.

From this dismal figure, Nigerian telcos still reportedly lost 1.2 million more subscribers this February. This translates to the fact that not everybody has internet and can WhatsApp, so it is not hard to imagine how else they chat without the internet — text messaging.

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