Yorubas are deep thinkers. They are hardly frivolous with words. One of our adages says, ‘the death snatching a man’s contemporaries is sounding a warning note to the man’. But our people can be painfully unsuspecting. Few months ago when the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) in a sudden show of being awake to their responsibilities suddenly slammed global telecommunication giant MTN with a fine running into trillions of our devalued naira, some Nigerians actually went to do thanksgiving in church.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Such lame reasoning, where else would MTN generate such huge amount to pay off their fines if not from their subscribers? Some discerning persons already forethought that and took in the news of NCC fine with reservation. NCC should have just taxed us directly instead of this alibi granted an ever willing MTN to fleece her customers. On this our innocent head, MTN would rake in more than enough needed to service their fine and there is nothing we’ll be able to do about it. The average Nigerians always bear the brunt.
Yesternight confirmed my suspicion. I got home late and forgot to recharge my account balance on my way home. I needed to make pressing calls. My airtime got exhausted in the process. My only option was to borrow from my network provider. After dialing some memorised numbers, I was credited 750 naira airtime. No, 750 minus ten percent charge. I have never minded. At 6 naira per minute on my MTN Tru Talk Plus, I was notorious among friends for making regular long calls. For me, it is like writing. I feel comfortable expressing myself when the target audience is not boring their eyes through me.
However, rude shock awaited me last night. Very unusual of me, my eyes caught details of my account balance after the first call and what I saw showed a glaring inconsistency with my usual call rates. I mentally did the math and to my displeasure found out MTN was charging me twice as much as expected. For benefit of doubt, I made another call. Nothing changed. I made yet another call, this time to their customer care.
Several MTN jingles later, I was able to speak with a lady whose attempt at being professional gave the impression she was unsympathetic to my cause. Undeterred, I tabled my complaints as coherently as I could manage. A 100 percent charge increase in service rate can render a man incoherent. She politely explained to me that my preferred service plan has been reviewed for a while now and that it is the appropriate new amount being charged.
There was no point crying over spilt milk. I dialed more numbers for further available service plans on the network. That was when I confirmed the ripples effect of NCC thoughtless fine. All the plans offer same flat rate. Same exorbitant flat rate. The only difference is the varying useless bonuses that come along. One offers a 10 megabyte weekly. For someone like me that exhausts 4 gigabytes monthly, that’s useless. Another offers a cheaper rate to one Me&U number. We’re talking business, MTN is talking one Me&U. Even a man with two wives would find the Me&U pathetic.
Since the NCC fine, has MTN stopped forcing caller tune down our throat? The other day, a lady was telling me how she prefers my former caller tune. The cluelessness on my face was epic. Me? Caller wadafuq? Infact, one criminal in their ranks just developed a more sophisticated way of getting customers to subscribe to the caller tune without foreknowledge. They just bring a message in that doesn’t go into your inbox but occupies your phone screen nevertheless. In your haste to wipe it off, you click okay and voila, you re debited for an unwanted service.
Has MTN stopped forcing callers feel down our throat too? What of all those senseless Isaiah messages? Do we not get more inbox messages daily from MTN than from our boyfriends, girlfriends and spouses? Are we not fucked? Has NCC not made matter worse? Somebody school me now. How has the NCC fines improved our lots as network subscribers?
Disclaimer: This is the raw opinion of the writer and does not represent the position of Ekimogun Mirror.