In an apparent move to recoup some of the amount of the hefty fine of N1.04 trillion imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Mobile Telecommunications Company of Nigeria (MTN) has increased the cost of some of its services by as much as 40 per cent.
One of the most hard-hit of the services offered to subscribers by MTN is the bulk short messaging system (sms), investigations by The AUTHORITY have revealed.
With effect from Monday 21st, 2016 (today) the cost of bulk sms services delivered by service providers has been jerked up to N2.20 per message, as against the previous price of N1.57 apiece.
‘’This is due to the emergency 40% increase from the operator (MTN). Other Network charges remain the same,’’ says one of the service providers while informing a client about the hike in charges taking effect from today.
Other bulk sms service providers across the country are frantically alerting their clients about the hike in MTN charges – in order to avoid accusations of not giving the clients prior information about the hike in their bills from today.
The charges of other major Nigerian telecommunications networks remain unchanged at the moment even when MTN is hiking its own charges.
An online medium reported that MTN increased its international calling charges early this month, with some rates climbing as much as 57%. There are reports that the other major telecommunications networks in Nigeria are also considering hiking their charges. But MTN apparently beat them to it.
Information available to the AUTHORITY indicates that the increase in rates may the first of several steps by the South African telecommunication giant to raise money to pay off the huge fine which was imposed on it last year by the NCC over its failure to implement SIM deactivation directive.
One of the bulk SMS operators who spoke to the AUTHORITY last night explained that the foreign company which he is subscribed to informed him of the increase.
He said initially the cost was N1.70k per SMS but this was reduced to N1.57k depending on the quantity purchased by a customer.
He explained further that the new increase which affects only bulk SMS services could be at a lower cost of N2 per SMS or 25 percent increase if a customer increases the volume of purchase.
“It is all about traffic”, he said, “the higher the quantity you buy the lower the unit price. But this particular increase is only on bulk SMS provided by MTN. Our foreign partner informed us of the increase which begins tomorrow”.
This is coming a few days after the NCC lifted the ban on regulatory services which it placed on MTN for several regulatory infractions. NCC says that the lifting of the suspension became necessary after reviewing MTN’s plea and considering the fact that it has stopped all the violations that led to the suspension of regulatory services by the Commission.
Reacting to inquiries by The AUTHORITY on the MTN increase on bulk sms, the Nigerian Communication Commission said last night that it has no knowledge of the increase by MTN, as no customer has brought any complaints against MTN on the new charges.
An official of NCC who spoke on the condition of anonymity said until such a report or complaint was received by the commission nothing could be done.
He said any customer who feels that the new charges do not equate to the services provided by the operator is free to make an official report or complaint to NCC to trigger an investigation into the charge.
Efforts last night by our reporter to reach MTN, Nigeria’s leading telecommunications company, proved abortive. Phone calls and text messages by our reporter to MTN were not responded to at the time of filing this report.