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Reprieve for a dissatisfied, disenchanted and disillusioned MTN customer and subscriber

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If you want my naira, you must respect my person; otherwise, I would go where I am respected to spend that naira. The Glo Mobile network like other networks is not perfect; but so far, so good. – Author

I just abandoned the MTN network by porting my MTN line to another network, and here is why: I bought my MTN mobile line together with a dark blue Siemens phone from MTN Friendship Centre on Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island, Lagos in mid-2002, less than a year after MTN started business in my beloved country Nigeria; so in a sense, I was one of their first customers in Nigeria. 

In those days, it was only MTN and Econet Wireless (present day Airtel), that were the telecom operators in Nigeria; the latter opened shop few months before MTN, and both telecom operators lines were prohibitively expensive. 

At the time, the lines were sold during promo for N12,500 and above (not now that they can be acquired for N150 or less), and I bought mine together with a less than basic Siemens phone that couldn’t even retain a caller’s number, during one of such promos by MTN for a hefty sum of N17,000, from months of savings as a then contract staff with UAC Nigeria Plc. 

The line was registered at the point of purchase, and over the next couple of years, the line was stolen thrice, and I retrieved and re-registered it each time at the MTN Friendship Centre on Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island with much financial and physical stress. 

And overtime, as my finances improved, I have spent over a million naira by way of recharge cards on the MTN network; so, I was really surprised when the company asked me for a fresh registration in compliance with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) mandate, despite all of the strenuous registration exercises I have undergone on its network in the past; I had thought I would not have to go through that harrowing experience, when NCC first announced the mandate. 

The NCC mandate was given in 2008/2009, and I promptly went to the MTN Friendship Centre on Opebi just around the roundabout bordering on Allen/Opebi/Toyin Streets; twice this company asked me to come for the registration and twice I complied at its Friendship Centre on Opebi.

And later on, it sent me a series of interactive SMS (text messages), which I replied, to further consolidate the exercise; which is why I was greatly peeved, when the MTN network disconnected my line and that of my wife last October; and the reasons it cited were “Incomplete registration.” Its notification to us before the disconnections were brief and arbitrary as it could be; and by the way, my wife whom I married in late 2011, bought her line in Warri, and she had also done the registration there in line with the NCC requirement. 

So, despite the previous registrations, MTN could not get a good handle on it, and it resorted to the cheap blackmail of disconnecting its subscribers instead of owning up its failure and gross incompetence, and apologizing to subscribers. In any event, I had to toe the line along with my wife to register the lines again, even though we have other lines, because almost all our critical contacts has these particular lines (our very first lines) as means of reaching us.

And so, I went to the MTN Friendship Centre on November 18, 2015 to register the line again while my wife who is a teacher waited until December during the holidays to register hers at the same Office. I can’t begin to recount the stress and time wasted on that as the place was jam-packed with hundreds of subscribers; and in December, I accompanied my wife there, and even though we got there before 8.00am, we couldn’t take our leave until noon, and the kids had to come along with us because of the holidays; I must however concede that the network gave us a measly N500 recharge bonus each at the end of the exercise apparently as compensation for our troubles, but that paled into insignificance when compared to the stress and hassles we had to go through in order to get the registration done. 

Yet, less than a month later, in January this year, MTN again disconnected us, this time, it said the registration was improperly done, and that we should return to the nearest MTN Office to do it again, and like before, there were no apologies, as if it was our fault that it couldn’t get a hang on a simple SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) registration exercise. 

Anyway, I just couldn’t take it anymore this time; I have had enough, as there comes a point in life that after being pushed repeatedly to the wall, a man must say, “Enough is enough.” It suddenly occurred to me, that I could leave the MTN network and still retain my mobile number by porting the line to another network. 

There and then, I visited the Glo Mobile (Gloworld) and Etisalat Experience Centres Offices on Opebi and Allen respectively to find out the modalities for doing that. Both networks really did well to court me, and both had attractive incentives so to speak if I were to port my line to their networks. 

I finally made my choice and settled for Glo Mobile for just one reason borne out of caution and patriotism: if I am going to be paying for a service that will be giving me the sort of headaches I have had with the ruthlessly inefficient MTN network, I’d rather do that with a local brand that will spend my naira in the society in which I live, rather than do so with a foreign brand that will largely spend my naira out of the society in which I live. 

So, I chose the Glo Mobile network because it is a Nigerian brand, and if it disappoints me tomorrow by behaving poorly, I would not regret it as much as I would regret it if it were to be a foreign brand. And you know what? It didn’t cost me a kobo to port to the Glo Mobile network, and the company even gave me a free SIM to do the porting; it also took less than an hour for it to be done, and less than forty-eight hours, I was on the Glo Mobile network. 

Now, when friends call me, they often wonder why my line is ringing as if I am out of Lagos, to which I always reply that I had gotten so frustrated with the MTN network that I just have to take a walk by porting my line. And it appears, most do not know or even understand the concept of porting, so I have to run a little tutorial on phone every now and then for that. 

You know! I initially wanted to take action against MTN by petitioning the NCC and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC); I wanted to do that by bringing together a critical mass of my fellow citizens who have had these same issues, aside the intermittent issues of arbitrary deductions of airtime, fraudulent data bundles, unsolicited irritating text messages and drop calls; and then do a group action against the network, but I thought better of it: I have learnt in my short life to pick my battles, and some battles aren’t just worth it. 

And I also thought of the Nigerians who work for the telecom company and the adverse effect such an action might have on them. Still, something had to give; so, I chose to share my experience in the hope that someone might learn from it. I am simply in the quest and campaign of demanding a just and equitable service delivery. I can’t be spending my hard-earned money in any business without getting a commensurate value for it. If you want my naira, you must respect my person; otherwise, I would go where I am respected to spend that naira. 

The Glo Mobile network like other networks is not perfect; but so far, so good and I am keeping a wary eye on it in my new found relationship with it as a subscriber; but at least for now, I have sustainable quiet because I am not having all these improper SIM registration issues.

Posted by Eneruvie Enakoko


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