The hullabaloo about the MTN NIGERIA fine is yet to settle. If you have been living under a rock and you are not aware that MTN Nigeria was recently fined an unprecedented sum above One Trillion Naira, have a look

With the telecoms giant having accepted to pay the fine, and with their having recently renewed their operating license in Nigeria for a further five years despite the fine, it doesn’t take clairvoyance or predictive ability to know that the fine would likely be paid by the consumers (directly or indirectly).

Just like you find bus drivers / conductors summarily increasing their fares in tandem with the avarice of the traffic wardens and Loaders (“agbero”), you can bet your bank account that the Network would explore different avenues to recoup some of their loses (because of this gargantuan fine) from Nigerians.


So, I was not particularly surprised when somebody posted this,

Folks, beware of the various offers for savings on calls and data by MTN. It’s a 419 scheme by MTN. I got an offer to recharge for N1500 and get N4500 worth of calls. I recharged for N1500 and sent the prescribed code. They sent a message that says I wasn’t eligible for the offer, but that I was given a bonus of N150!! Now I find they’re charging about a whopping N28/sec. The N1500 airtime is gone. Why was MTN persistent in sending that 419 message to a number that’s not eligible for an offer? The whole idea was to get me (and other unsuspecting Nigerians) off my normal bouquet that charges N9/min. This is my own experience o. MTN to Nigerians: una wan fine us abi? You people go suffer well well, na them go pay the fine. MTN is out on the prowl like a wounded lion. Guess where I stand on the debate about whether MTN should pay the N1.04trn fine? You guessed right, they should pay up!!

N28/sec? Perhaps he meant 28k/sec

As a matter of fact, there was an offer from MTN NIGERIA that promises to credit you with 200% bonus. I migrated, only to find that my old call rate of 11k/s was now more than tripled to 36k/s or so.. Simple maths told me I was better off where I was before. It was when I wanted to switch back to my old tariff that I realized N100 would be deducted to go back.



Under disclosure is quite common with the networks. You only find out about the “fine prints” after you have jumped in, and jumping out sometimes is a tug of war. It is so bad that I am simply not availing myself of all these tempting “offers” anymore, especially with my main lines. I could lose out of some goodies, but I would also avoid “Greek Gifts” like this.

This is not the first time that one would catch the Networks being economical with disclosures.

Where one needs to be careful and vigilant is in the area of data. AirTel is notorious for cheating customers out of data, with a purchased 1 GigaByte data bundle being like half of that in reality.

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A friend likes to say, often, Don’t assume, be sure. And a well known dead author also said in one of his novels, Professionals always check. It pays to be punctilious/ finicky with the money the networks are taking off your phone.

To avoid the networks cheating us out of our money, we need to carefully maintain eagle eyes on the call rates (luckily NCC made it compulsory for the networks to display call statistics / charges after every call, so it is easy to quickly detect when things go awry with the charges).

With data taking preeminence over voice calls these days, it would be wise to install a data metering application on your device to ensure that you are not being over billed regarding data consumption.

Just like some banks would continue to over charge you (on fees) if you don’t check from time to time, the Gsm networks have demonstrated that they are quite capable of taking easy money off unsuspecting subscribers.

Eternal vigilance is key.



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