Coronavirus-Network Services in Nigeria: Quo Vadis?
Even during wars and earthquakes, people try to live their lives. We continue to make calls and tweet. We expect networks to be up and running. A dying person would want to make one last phone call to loved ones. That is human for you. The sad spread of coronavirus has not taken away one of Nigerians daily concern – inefficient network services. Telecommunication networks in Nigeria continue to rip us off. The corona-virus of these networks continues to shorten our airtime and data. Are these viruses human-made or simply tech-made? I think it’s time we review them
But wait for a second, do you know that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), a body that regulates telcos for consumer protection, has a price regulation/control mechanism called price cap and price floor. Yet these rules are flaunted especially after the data price floor was cancelled thereby resulting in the present-day data war amongst telcos/service providers. The resultant effect is the exploitation of customers who continue to complain to NCC about billing issues. The NCC reports that over 50% of issues were centred around excessive deduction/inaccurate charges, and MTN is the key respondent.
MTN Nigeria has the most popular network with 35% of subscribers. The South African company with her headquarters in Johannesburg has good coverage and is investing heavily in 4G/LTE infrastructure. On the 11th day of March 2020, MTN reports commercial momentum, strategic progress and strong financial results. In constant currency terms, her group service revenue increased by 9.8% to R141.8Billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) expanded by 13.6% to R53.4billion. MTN has a customer base of 251million, data users base of 95million and fintech customers of 35million. One wonders if the tax and depreciation take note of the actual value of the call/data time rate as against the book-records. What sort of algorithm is used? how was it programmed?
Talking about Data, Nigerians have tried to understand, but still don’t, and are still seeking an explanation. How does one subscribe 1gb unlimited data which ironically says 1G/N1000 for 1month and in 3hours you start seeing “sign-in to a network?”
One good thing about MTN remains her wonderful customer service. The customer representative always picks up his or her call at any time and always tries to manage the caller’s situation. We give them credit for that. Lately, MTN seems to be on a crash mission. As if the data-hose-drying isn’t enough for them, they now feel the need to aggravate consumers with fluctuating network service.
Meanwhile, we heard that the group President and CEO, Rob Shuter, will be stepping down from his role at the end of his tenure in March 2021. MTN has dominated for 25 years, we hope and pray that they last another 25.
Known as the grandmasters of data, Glo, as it is popularly called, is a Private owned Nigerian multinational Telecommunications Company founded on August 29, 2003, by Mike Adenuga. Glo has made history as the first single company to build a high capacity submarine fibre-optic cable, popularly known as Glo-1, the first successful cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria with improvement in online technologies. Well, It’s a pity the local man doesn’t understand what all that means and obviously wouldn’t care. What consumers care about is for Globacom to give a good Internet speed. How can they be ‘the grandmasters of data’ and yet the data is of no use to consumers?
Glo has a doctorate degree in gathering high profiled Nigerian Celebrities to run adverts for her and also spends a lot of money on television series. We are admirers of one of its director Bella Disu, she is such a force to reckon with.
Having said that, let us re-echo the words of consumers ‘Glo, we need connectivity, please…’
BHARTI AIRTEL LIMITED
Randomly known as Airtel, the Indian global telecommunications company based in Delhi India is acclaimed to be the third-largest mobile network operator in the world. Airtel is known for its corporate social investment programs, particularly, it’s adopt-a-social-initiative which seeks to provide a 360-degree approach for Identifying, nurturing and developing the minds of children across public primary schools. 2017 came with lots of awards for Airtel which includes; LCCI service excellence in telecom award, NTITA CSR excellence award, Telecom CEO of the year and lots more.
Airtel Nigeria makes mind-blowing adverts, we give the advert team credit for that, they deserve a grammy and most importantly Airtel awoof data plans are top-notch.
However, it saddens our heart that Airtel seems to be following the footsteps of MTN. They give us awoof data plans and take it back in less than 5hours. Most annoyingly, the question we ask is “does Airtel not have a customer representative? If they do, why can’t we ever speak to him or her?” Airtel should learn a thing or two from MTN as regards customer service.
ETISALAT OR 9MOBILE
We cannot understand a brand that hasn’t understood themselves. So, while they are at it, let’s keep drinking plenty of water, sanitize our hands and try to remain preventive of the coronavirus.
From our interviews, we notice that consumers are more likely to overlook inaccurate call charges than inaccurate data charges. More so, businesses are disappointed that there is no real unlimited data in Nigeria. And the prices of data compared to foreign prices are quite unfair. Hi, what is your story, which network are you dissatisfied with? tell us in the comment session below.