Without a shadow of doubt MTN mobile telecommunication is Nigeria’s biggest mobile operator in the country with substantial socioeconomic responsibility.
However, looking at the mobile giant’s history in Nigeria, it is fraught with exploitation, fraud, unethical business practices and sharp practices. If memory serves us well, MTN was one of the first GSM mobile communication platform to get operation license on Nigeria and proceeded to expand to the length and breath of Nigeria and denied its Nigeria subscribers the right to per second billing system, yet employed the billing system in its home country South Africa. Not only did MTN refused to enable per second billing system to its Nigeria subscribers, the spokesperson for the company told Nigerians per second billing was not feasible or possible in Nigeria.
It took the emergence of Globacom years later to offer Nigeria the joys and convenience of per second billing for GSM calls.
Also, when the rest of the world was enjoying 3G connectivity, MTN refused to upgrade such service to its Nigerian customers while being one of the first to roll out 3G services in its home country, South Africa.
Again, it took Globacom to roll out 3G services in Nigeria, before MTN, afraid of being left behind, scrambled to roll out the services.
It is evident MTN is in Nigeria solely for profit maximisation without regard to delivering quality services and upgrading to international standards. Not only does MTN operated with the highest costs in data and voice services, it is also the least in rolling out bonus or bonanza plans, waiting until the last minute when virtually all networks on the country have implemented their bonuses.
MTN is also the greatest law breaker of Nigeria’s Telecommunications laws as the company deliberately failed to comply with the SIM Registration regulation by NCC, enabling millions of unregistered subscribers access to its network. MTN has no scruples about implementing sharp practices it dare not attempt in South Africa.
Following the acquisition of 100 per cent equity of Visafone by MTN in 2015, Visafone had applied to the regulatory agency for the transfer of its frequency and licence to MTN.
Operators in the telecommunications industry, particularly 9mobile and Airtel, on Monday openly argued on why the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, should not transfer Visafone’s licence and spectrum to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.
At a public hearing in Abuja on Monday, Airtel and 9mobile argued that transferring Visafone’s 800 Megahertz spectrum would concentrate 38 per cent spectrum available in the country on MTN and thereby give the company undue advantage to further dominate the Nigerian telecommunications market.
Spokespersons for 9mobile, Oluseyi Osunsedo and Chigozie Arinze, said spectrum was a scarce national resource that should not be concentrated on one operator because it had the money to buy up whatever was available.
An unscrupulous company like MTN will not fail to exploit such powers to its utmost advantage to the misery of other telecommunications companies and stifle competition from other GSM vendors.
Worthy of note is how the same MTN opposed the move in its home country, South Africa when another top GSM network attempted to purchase similar GSM architecture to the detriment of other operating companies in south Africa.
It is therefore pertinent to ask; why is MTN practising business strategies it felt was not good for South Africa in Nigeria?
And it would be unpatriotic and a lack of foresight on the part of the NCC to allow the company continue in unethical business practices and monopolisation of the Nigerian GSM market.