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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Short Essay 17. The Return of My Darling, MTN

The Return of My Darling, MTN
 
My readers have to contend with a very bad habit in me. I am quick in praise as I am quick in blame.
 
Few weeks ago, in Dumping My Darling, MTN (http://fridaydiscourse.blogspot.com/2011/07/short-essay-16-dumping-darling-MTN.HTML), I declared war on the largest GSM carrier on the African continent because of the high tariff it was charging of N35/min over the low cost of N12 – N15/min that other networks are charging on some of their bundles. It did not take time after the publication that I learnt from insider sources that MTN was already considering reviewing its rates downwards. I thought it would take a long time. But, happily, it did not.
 
Yesterday, the “180” Customer Service girl called me again announcing a new pre-paid bundle launched by the company – the MTN SUPER SAVER! It promises customers of charges as low as 17k/sec or N10.2/min on-net after attaining the initial 5 minutes or 300 seconds of call during the day. The 1st minute is charged at 58k/sec; while the initial 2nd – 5th minutes go at 20k/sec on-net. Off-net calls are charged at 25k/sec after the initial 5 minutes. The 1st minute is charged at 58k/sec as on-net; then 2nd to 5th minutes are charged at 30k/sec.
 
To migrate to the new bundle, the 180 girl said, all you need to do is to write 408 in SMS and send it to 131 and, behold, the new tariff will start. She also promised me that there are no hidden charges. I said, “Fine, I will try it. Thank you ma.”
 
This morning I set out to test the bundle with my calculator in hand. As my calls started, I noticed another innovation. MTN has pre-empted the Freedom of Information Act and my calculator. As enjoyed by customers in many countries around the globe, MTN has installed a meter that alerts me on the cost of my last call and my remaining balance. I wonder why we did not ask for this long ago. It kept alerting me of how many more seconds remained before I start enjoying the 17k/sec tariff. As soon as I reached it, the tariff started. Some calls cost N5, others N8, N10, N15, etc. A long 5 minutes call that I placed to a friend inquiring about an inverter cost just about N50.00. As soon as I got the alert, I could not help exclaiming, “Yes. My darling is back!”
 
Personally, I feel very comfortable with this rate. It is a giant step to ease the suffering of our pockets. And I hope it lasts. MTN has earlier withdrawn the Extra-Connect and Extra-cool bundles and replaced them with the higher ones like PayGo. If it realizes that the present rate will earn the company less than a third of what they used to harvest from me, it may be tempted to introduce a bundle of a higher tariff, taking another stream of protests and migration before it bows again.
 
However, for the majority of the 40 million MTN customers who call for less than 5 minutes a day, the new bundle may not be as merciful to them as it is to me and other long callers, though the 25k/sec is still better than – in fact only a half of – the previous MTN PayGo tariff. For anyone calling for not more than a minute in a day, his rate still remains at N34/min. Here, MTN has still some distance to trek.
 
In any case, the market is there to check the company for us. MTN Super Saver will compel other carriers to return to the drawing board, looking for ways to bring down their rates lower than that of MTN, perhaps to something like N5 or N7/min. Then we will return to shout at MTN again, “You leech! You thief!!! You … Bring down your tariff to N5 or N7/min as others are doing, otherwise we will migrate to other carriers. Then MTN, after a long pause, would return it to N3 or N4/sec. I do not know how low would giants continue to bow before the Adam Smith, 200 years after his death.
 
I will urge my readers who are on MTN pre-paid to immediately send 408 to 131 to avoid further loss of their hard earned money. If you are on post-paid, however, you do not need to bother. As one of my readers said in the comments on the previous article, you have been enjoying N12/min tariff long ago. Now it is our turn to smile.

Meanwhile, I will hold a party for my returnee darling, MTN, today. Unfortunately, MTN has created a dilemma in my heart. Should I divorce my second wife – whom I married after my divorce with MTN – or keep her?
 
I need your advice.
 
Abuja,
21 August 2011

18 comments:

Ashiru Hamza Mohammad PT, MPH, MNSP said...

That's MTN for you Dr. They may prickle again. Their business strategist really have to find ways, to retain us. I divorced her before only to now go back to her again for reconciliation.

Maryam said...

Treat them equitably!

Anonymous said...

Dr you have been quite generous to mtn at the risk of being called their gratified advertiser but that equity demands. When erred you condemn then. Now that they have repented. They deserve pardon. As for your 2nd, keep both. Gida biyu maganin gobara

Anonymous said...

I don't trust them.They ar consistent promise breakers.The best I can do for them is to receive calls on my MTN,that they make revenue still.
MUSTAPHA

Abdulkadir said...

"Fa in khiftum alla ta'adilu fa wahidatan auma malakat aimanuhum dhalika adna anla ta'ulu" - Dr. if you fear inequitable treatment between the current and the "returnee" darlings then, iam afraid, you may to play safe by divorcing one. Probably the curny MTN may be the one to go.

Aminu said...

I hope Dr you made sure that is not only your line on that plan before this post.I am not being too suspicious, but almost everything is possible here, especially when you said you were called.However, am glad complaint is working.

ardo said...

Please brother I advice that you do not divorce your second darling. Who says polygamy is not good. Many and you too has benefited from your second marriage she may snob you if you get frustrated by your returnee darling MTN. Let's keep the chase for better service with a close watch over all the service providers.
Bi Salam!

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

I did confirm that the bundle is for all MTN customers who wish to subscribe to it. The girl called me because she knew I wrote against their high tariff. In fact, when discussing GSM tariffs with my nephew the following morning just as I was about to start monitoring it, he too intimated me about the new bundle. My wife tried it during suhur this morning and she was admitted instantly. i think these are enough evidences that MTN did not design the bundle specifically to appease Dr. Tilde as some would like to insinuate. It would have just given me free air time as it does to legislators and media executives in the country.

But I must confess that I am not surprised that the article is not palatable to the Nigerian pessimist who is so engrossed in negative thinking that he is always saddened to welcome any progress. At the debut of GSM in this country the charges were N60/min. Today, you can make a call for even less than N10/min. If this is not progress, i do not know what progress would be.

I remember when I published an article, Good News from Zaria, praising the authorities and lecturers of the Faculty of Medicine for using egalitarian criteria for admission into the Faculty the news was not greeted with the happiness I expected. I wrote the article despite the fact that I have banned my children from applying to A.B.U. because of the perennial difficulty in securing its admissions.

Encouraging anyone who did the right thing seems to negate the mindset of such pessimists. To them, Nigeria must remain in its sick state. Nobody can do any good in it. Every official, nay, everybody, is corrupt and evil. This is a very bad habit which i have heard many administrators complain against.

As for me, I could be harsh in criticizing a wrong but always generous in praising who does the right thing even if it will sadden others. This is part of the attributes of this blog. If God can praise a servant for doing the right thing, who am I to feel too high - or say too mean - not to follow His queue?

Abba Anwar, Kano said...

I think it is better this way. Mee too am revisiting my stand on MTN.We are therefore hoping for more fruits from MTN's angle.

Anonymous said...

MTN is in connivance with the powers that be. At a point in time they were found guilty of bribing the NASS with 100s of 1000s of Naira worth of recharge

Nuways said...

Haba! Dr. keep the two and see what message could be learnt particularly when they both know that adam smith is watching. Ba'a yiwa fara barka tun jeji bai gama konewa.

Anonymous said...

DR. IAM BACK TO MTN NOW. IHAVE TESTED THE CHEAPER RATES AND NOW SATISFIED. FOR NOW I CAN TRUST MTN NETWORK.

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting for this coz I was sure you will take your darling wife back. dont forget its YOUR BEST CONNECTION and EVERYWHERE YOU GO..

Jan H. Boer said...

Aliyu, I reject divorce as a solution to most marital problems. However, in the context of this discussion, divorce terminology is only to add some humour to the situation. A contract is no marriage. It is not a question of divorce, as you know very well. Since your "ex" has come to her senses, you should feel free to re-embrace her.

Mohammed Jahun said...

Thanks Mallam for the balanced report. But why did you remove the original article about your divorce from MTN. Is this deliberate?

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

@Muhammed. Dumping My Darling MTN is still on this blog. Why will I remove it? In it's absence the present article is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

She (MTN) just changes her habits to pursue the second wife. She could succeed in that and return to prior behaviour. First love!!

James said...

My comment when you wrote "Dumping My Darling MTN" was from a neo-classical economics perspective. Again, I'll do same. What you experiencing with the telecoms service providers is an oligopolistic competition price war. For now their the demand for their services is elastic. Lowering their rates will ensure they retain their share of the market or get back what lost to competitors in the price war. However, in the long run (may be in 10 yrs time) the market will mature when the Dr Tildes of Nigeria are not motivated by tiny rate drops anymore. Demand for telecoms services would have become inelastic. At this stage, any price reduction will not bring in enough extra sales to counterbalance the drop in revenue. The kinked demand curve is the final result. As to the question of 'divorce', my advice is to retain your 2 'wives' but service the least demanding one at any given time. In 2001 I married Econet at N30,000/SIM & N5O/MIN. I divorced her after just 6 turbulent months. 'Yar iska ce. She changed name in her iskanci and now calls herself Air(iska)tel. I married popular MTN in 2OO2 and Miss ETISALAT when the 'brides' became cheap. Good news Dr - they will get even cheaper. Problem is, how many can you properly service? One at best, with the second one always on standby.rling MTN" was from a neo-classical economics perspective. Again, I'll do same. What you experiencing with the telecoms service providers is an oligopolistic competition price war. For now their the demand for their services is elastic. Lowering their rates will ensure they retain their share of the market or get back what lost to competitors in the price war. However, in the long run (may be in 10 yrs time) the market will mature when the Dr Tildes of Nigeria are not motivated by tiny rate drops anymore. Demand for telecoms services would have become inelastic. At this stage, any price reduction will not bring in enough extra sales to counterbalance the drop in revenue. The kinked demand curve is the final result. As to the question of 'divorce', my advice is to retain your 2 'wives' but service the least demanding one at any given time. In 2001 I married Econet at N30,000/SIM & N5O/MIN. I divorced her after just 6 turbulent months. 'Yar iska ce. She changed name in her iskanci and now calls herself Air(iska)tel. I married popular MTN in 2OO2 and Miss ETISALAT when the 'brides' became cheap. Good news Dr - they will get even cheaper. Problem is, how many can you properly service? One at best, with the second one always on standby.