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| By Pita Ochai | Dec. 2, 2012 @ 12:11 GMT
IN the past three years, the Nigerian telecommunication sector has been inundated with different promotions with various service providers dangling prizes to subscribers. Prizes such as aircrafts, cars, motorcycles, television sets, even cash were on the menu. But the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, wielding the big stick, stopped all forms of promos and lotteries by telecommunication operators on Monday, November 12.
Tony Ojobo, NCC director of public affairs, stated that the promotions and lotteries were banned after bitter complaints from subscribers who felt aggrieved by the manner of operations by the different telecom companies. It appeared that the telecommunication operators had ignored their primary function of providing quality services to venture into promotions, which brought more customers and caused network congestion.
Irked by that development, the NCC, after carefully evaluating the complaints received especially against the backdrop of sustaining the integrity of the networks, the general interest of the consumers, the socio-economic impact of the promotions on operators and other relevant stakeholders, decided to call the operators to order.A total of seven telecommunication operators who were involved in the promotion campaign include, Globacom, MTN, Intercellular Limited, Visafone Communications Limited, Etisalat, Airtel, and Multilinks Communications Limited.
To him, telecom operators ignored their primary function of providing quality services to promos which have caused network congestion. Consistent with its processes, NCC carefully evaluated the complaints received especially against the backdrop of sustaining the integrity of the networks, the general interest of the consumers, the socio-economic impact of these promotions on Operators and other relevant stakeholders.
A total of seven telecom operators who had their promos running were affected by the ban. The operators are: Globacom, MTN, Intercellular limited, Visafone Communications limited, Etisalat, Airtel, Multilinks Communications Limited.
It was a big relief to subscribers who welcomed the ban, but others said the NCC’s ban was a means of blocking the benefits that should have accrued to the poor masses from the services providers.
To Segun Jolayemi, a telecommunications engineer, the NCC should have concentrated its energy on ensuring the provision of quality service, while also allowing the service providers give back their profits to the society. He said that if the number of drop calls, one of the reasons given by NCC for the ban, is on the increase, it simply means that the installed capacity is seriously under quoted and should be increased.
Emeka Ekwe, a civil servant, who had nasty experience with telecommunication promotion, praised the decision of the NCC. “I have tried so many of these, and I have come to realise that they are just a scam. I call it telecommunications scam,” he said. Ekwe disclosed that he had bought a roll of MTN cards worth N45,000 in N1,500 denominations, with the intension of winning at least N1 million during a promotion. But he did not win even after using up the airtime.[caption id="attachment_1038" align="alignright" width="300"] Telecom subscribers[/caption]
Indeed, it was exciting for some Nigerian subscribers who struggled to win and get something from the promotion campaigns. Before the hammer fell on the campaigns, the biggest prize on the offer ever in the industry was the recently concluded promotion by MTN Nigeria where Cessna 182T Aeroplane was given out as the grand prize. I
Initially, when the promotion started, a lot of Nigerian subcribers did not believe that MTN could or would give out the aeroplane as promised. But skepticism was laid to rest as Ebube Essien – Garrrick, a 27 –year old-student of College of Health Science and Technology in Rivers State, emerged as the winner. Essien – Garrick opted for the cash instead of airplane and was given N64 million on Tuesday, November 13. However, Wale Goodluck, corporate service executive of MTN, put the cost of the airplane at N72 million.
Also, before the ban, Globacom had a new promotion which offers subscribers the opportunity to own a fleet of 52-seater luxury buses, mini buses, and cash prizes. The promotion was designed to reward over 1,500 Glo subscribers with mouth-watering prizes and is alledged to be the first of its kind in the Nigerian telecommunication industry.
Going by the excuse of network congestion given by NCC as reason for the ban, subscribers are anxiously waiting for improved services from operators.
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