Nigerians are asking what the NCC is doing about the high cost of Data Nigeria.

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If NCC could introduce the Do-NOT-Disturb #DND Service, they can also address the issue of high data price…

Telecom companies appear to be smiling to the Bank since the demand for Data in Nigeria became high. Today, according to the NCC there are over 110million internet users in Nigeria. Clearly, there is a big market for Data, most people spend most of their time surfing the net or loafing around on social media entertaining themselves. Data is now a necessity, we can safely put it among the Basic human needs. Is this now a justification for people to get ripped off by service providers?

I think we are generally complacent about how service providers treat us and we are just happy that we have moved on as beneficiaries of Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone invention to connecting globally via the Internet. Could it be a case of gratitude that civilisation finally got to us or we think it is a necessity so we don’t mind the cost, we grudgingly bear the high cost of access to the internet when the rest of the world is paying less for more? As for the cost of telecommunication services in Nigeria, some things don’t add up and I will tell you why.

Back in the days when MTN Nigeria started in 2001, some people paid up to 35k for a Sim card, calls were up to 50 Naira per minute. They ripped us off, you get charged even if the call was for a second. Until Glo came in 2003 and introduced per second billing. I remember getting my first Glo SIM from my employer in 2003 with a Siemens phone😂 the SIM was 10k or so at the time, in my mind, I am a “big girl”, I have refused to let go of my Glo SiM by October it will be 16 years😁. Today SIM cards cost next to nothing.

In Glo’s first year, they hit 1million subscribers in 87 towns in Nigeria and made over 120 Billion Naira in revenue. Even then, those who got employed by Glo thought “they have made it in life”😁 They broke the GSM market. By the way, Econet Wireless was the first GSM operator to go live in Nigeria but over the years they have changed hands, Vodacom, Vmobile, Celtel, Zain and now Airtel has come to stay as they have lasted since 2010. So in the last 18 years of GSM Nigeria, MTN has become the giant with about 60.3 million subscribers as of March 2019.

As of Q1 2019, MTN announced an increment in service revenue by 13.4% and 12.7% for voice. Note DATA revenue increased by 32.4% and FINTECH services 22.9%. MTN posted 1.04Trillion in revenue in for final year December 31, 2018. In 2017 MTN earned 887Billion with airtime and Data subscription accounting for N676.36Billion.

Remember NCC fined MTN N1.04trillion ($5.2billion) for 5.2Million unregistered customers which were not deactivated. The fine for each unregistered was $1000😳MTN eventually negotiated for N330Billion Naira fine, so far they have pad N275Billion remaining a balance of N50Billion as at May 2019.
One would have thought the fine was enough to send MTN packing, but MTN Group can’t give up on Nigeria they don’t even make as much money in the Headquarters in South Africa.

So who bears the brunt of NCC 330Billion Naira on MTN? Your guess is as good as mine, Subscribers! Most of those who complain about high data cost and the mysterious “Data theft” or “Data Vapour are MTN subscribers. If we do a benchmark on the cost of Data in Europe, the Americas and other African Countries you will think Nigerians are Richer than the rest of the world. I know the cost of doing business in Nigeria is high, but the revenues from Telcos show a massive rip-off and we clearly don’t get value for our money.

There was a time when most of the Telcos went crazy with unscrupulous charges they call “Valueless added services”(VAS). Most just kept imposing services on customers and you get charged for services you didn’t subscribe to. When you call the customer service they will even tell you what you are being charged for, some useless SMS service you didn’t request for.
2 years ago, I used to name and shame them on Twitter when they charge me for useless VAS. I ask for N100 and even N50 refund and ask for compensation for the “Thiefery” until NCC Do-not-Disturb service put an end to the nonsense.

Just in case you still get charged for services you didn’t subscribe for, you can ask a Full Do Not Disturb. (Full DND) simply text “STOP” to 2442. This will save you from receiving any unsolicited message from your service provider. Since I applied Full DND I have stopped battling with GLO and MTN. I don’t notice the charges on my voice call because I actually make a lot of calls, but I have also set myself free from Mobile Data rip-off,  I only use small mobile Data. I went on to Spectranet for Data service, then I saw other ways people get ripped off, but so far we are both respecting ourselves and managing our relationship. I will share other discoveries in subsequent posts.

In the meantime, we need to do more than just rant about the high cost of Data and Poor internet service, we need to make NCC feel the pulse of Data and voice call subscriber so that they can do a price adjustment and also ensure that the services improve. If NCC could introduce the Do-NOT-Disturb #DND Service, they can also address the issue of high data price. If MTN could reduce the price of SIM cards from 35k to N150 and they changed from per minute to seconds billing the service providers can also reduce the price of subscriptions.
We need to keep advocating for better services else nothing will change.
If you have issues with your Telecom service provider you can call NCC Toll free on 622 and file a complaint you can also use the Consumer complaint portal Online Consumer Complaint Form

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