The RF Group, official southern African distributor of Nokia Corp. mobile phones, together with its partner, Cellphone Warehouse -- owned by NIPA in Botswana -- has opened the Nokia Customer Care Centre, which Nokia claims to be the first of its kind in Gaborone.
According to Nokia, the center is a state of the art facility, which serves as a one-stop shop for consumers. The company says that the facility has a dual function, acting as a retail store and a workshop, and offers consumers a visual, as well as a touch and feel experience, of Nokia technology and products. According to the company, consumers can now interact with the staff, and enquire about the latest products and pricing, as well as the benefits that Nokia products bring.
The workshop, says Nokia, employs highly skilled technicians who handle anything from software upgrades to repairing and replacing complex components in Nokia phones. It is also equipped, the company adds, with sophisticated machines, which will repair all Nokia mobile phones quickly, without having to send them outside the country.
According to Nokia, Botswana is a dynamic country of 1.7 million people, and has two GSM operators -- Mascom and Orange Personal Communications Services Ltd. Together, says the company, they boast approximately 500,000 subscribers. Nokia says that these networks have been in operation for the past five years, with 95 percent of the users being on prepaid and only 5 percent on contract.
"Technology has evolved, and we find that our people need to upgrade to remain on a par with the rest of the world. With only 5 percent of the users being on contract, thus having the ability to upgrade to new Nokia models with new applications, there is a huge opportunity for us to service pre-paid users," says Sadique Desai, a partner in Cellphone Warehouse.
"The majority of users in Botswana are Nokia, and we need to service them by making mobile phones, technologies, as well as after-sales support available in the country," says Chris Hopkirk, RF Group's director of sales for Africa. "It is important for us to invest in Africa, and gain the confidence of the users to put the replacement handsets in the hands of the customer," he says.
Due to different subsidy models within Botswana, Hopkirk concludes: "There might not be the same free or reduced offerings on handsets with contracts as there are in South Africa. It will be up to the operators to decide if this will be possible."