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Wonder Promos – Are GSM Companies Taking Nigerians For A Ride? by luluosas(m): 8:35pm On Aug 30, 2012
Opinion: Wonder promos – Are GSM companies taking Nigerians for a ride?
Nigerian mobile telecommunication companies are in a 100 meters race for the Guinness Book of World Records. The recent bizarre advertising frenzy to outdo one another in promoting the most outrageous of promos in order to win customers will be a record first if eventually they get listed in that book of spectacle and the absurd. These recent promotions are the jokes of the century. It is the stuff scams are made of. And it is also not a secret anymore. The promos are in the public domain. So we can name names. First, it was Etisalat that started it all. The company, which prides itself as a truly “Naija” network is urging its customers in a recent promo which it tags “Etisalat unbelievable Promo to “Win a Country.” The offer is truly implausible.

In the promo, Etisalat customers are offered mouth watering but weird perks which come with “winning the imaginary country”-they will have full control of the country and its natural resources like-wait for this-crude oil! Etisalat subscribers will, if they play the promo, have access to the imaginary country through air, land and sea. The country, unlike Nigeria, their present “backward” country is technologically advanced. But there is an option. Lucky winners can get the money equivalent of this country in case they are not interested in living in that fantasy country! Now if you consider the Etisalat offer ridiculous, MTN, another mobile network giant, has joined the drama of the absurd. The company is offering one lucky subscriber out of millions that will enter its recent promo an airplane! Can you beat that? With a paltry sum of N200, an impoverished man or woman in any part of Nigeria would soon be flying around with an aircraft even when he has not entered one in his life time or when he does not even know how to move an okada! But the smart Alecs in MTN, just like their Etisalat counterparts, have added the well-worn condition. In case the subscriber finds the aircraft unattractive, he could walk home with the Naira equivalent of the giant flying bird. Did I hear you gasp? Now what do you call that offer by MTN?

The details of the incredible promos from the GSM companies will reveal how these multinationals are playing on the intelligence of vulnerable Nigerians, making billions of Naira, while our government lets them get away with blue murder. In details gathered from MTN website, to participate in the MTN Ultimate Wonder promo, new and existing customers are to recharge with a minimum of N200 to qualify for weekly draws. Multiple entries are allowed for increased chances of winning (emphasis mine). Recharges of minimum N3, 000 over the duration of the promo will qualify for the grand prize of an aeroplane! The promo will run for three months. These are strange times indeed. Now pray, where else in the world can this madness play out except in our country? That these companies can even contemplate these offensive promos says a lot about how low our country has descended. A country where anything goes; a country where businesses can do whatever they like without any fear of sanction.

Now we can all see why our country is rated as investors’ haven! Let’s even examine the economics of the MTN offer. The promo is slated to run for three months. For three months, gullible Nigerians will be in a mad race to win an elusive airplane. The contest is on already. Knowing ordinary Nigerians’ gullibility and quest for “miracle” and ambition to achieve the good life no matter how crooked, MTN has hit the gold mine with their new promo this time. In a country where the “new craze” is to own private jets, the company is feeding into the new craze and taking advantage of it. It is indeed a smart thing for MTN to make millions with the promise of an aeroplane. I can imagine millions of my countrymen buying recharge cards like groundnuts in their bid to own a country or fly a private jet as promised by Etisalat and MTN. Imagine the millions MTN will rake home in the next three months. How can regulators in the telecom sector allow these bogus promos in the first place?

What is the job of the National Communications Commission and the National Lottery Regulatory Commission? Are they not aware of these promos? What is even annoying is the manner in which networks and their collaborators disturb us with incessant texts messages promoting one bogus offer or another. As soon as one procures a mobile line one loses one’s privacy to unsolicited text messages bearing incredible promos. It is startling how mobile telecommunications companies allow their networks to be used for advertising or promotion without recourse to the convenience of their subscribers. There is no let up in messages and automated calls. One network also has a habit of calling subscribers in the middle of the night! As soon you as one picks the call, a pre-recorded voice sells an unwanted product!

This certainly cannot be the case in other climes. The subscriber should be able to subscribe or have a choice of whom or which product invades his or her network. Mobile telecommunication companies in Nigeria are taking us for granted and we should blame the government and the regulators for the chaos in the sector. Public complaints against the telecoms operators is on the rise. The incessant unsolicited messages that drop into subscribers’ handsets regularly inviting them to participate in one promotion or another is an intrusion of privacy. In Nigeria, product promotion has become the preferred marketing strategy among many companies and the telecoms operators have keyed into this to make more money from hapless subscribers. Often times, telecoms subscribers receive unsolicited messages informing them that they have won a certain amount of money or gift and to claim the gifts they need to text certain code to certain number.

Subscribers are also told that they have won free numbers of SMS and to activate them they need to text a certain code to a certain number. In the process, their credits are deducted. In other instances, subscribers are invited to participate in promos through text messages and under this arrangement they are charged certain amount of money daily until they decide to opt out of the competition; and some do not know how to discontinue. The media blitz unleashed on mobile handset users by telecoms firms through frenzied sales promos, game shows, and misleading text messages has continued to catch unsuspecting subscribers.

*Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Re: Wonder Promos – Are GSM Companies Taking Nigerians For A Ride? by luluosas(m): 9:09pm On Aug 30, 2012
The MTN aeroplane promo is the most wicked of them all.
Re: Wonder Promos – Are GSM Companies Taking Nigerians For A Ride? by PearlJoy: 1:28pm On Aug 31, 2012
@luluosas,The Nigerian Telecommunication companies in Nigeria as far as i know are only trying their bit in various ways to generate greater sales or margins and retain their customers. Very Successful ventures perform a combination of business activities including marketing, production, distribution,customer service, and other activities important to the enterprises including "mouth watering" promos to reward their customers in creative ways. However, a competitive advantage is often a single key element that gives an edge to a business beyond what the competition has or does.

In a country like ours where no sector of the economy seems to be working effectively,we should learn to focus on the good rather than the bad for the few that are presently working.
Re: Wonder Promos – Are GSM Companies Taking Nigerians For A Ride? by luluosas(m): 8:10am On Nov 13, 2012
I hope they will learn their lessons whenever this ban is lifted.

The Commission has, in recent times been inundated with several complaints from consumers, Industry Stakeholders against the various promotions offered by Telecommunications Operators.

Consistent with its processes, the Commission has carefully evaluated the complaints received especially against the backdrop of sustaining the integrity of the networks, the general interest of the consumers, the socio-economic impact of these promotions on Operators and other relevant stakeholders.

The Commission is also mindful of its statutory responsibilities such as; to protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices, promote fair competition in the industry by protecting Operators from misuse of market power and anti-competitive/unfair practices by other Operators.

i. In due regard to the afore-mentioned responsibilities therefore and having observed that these promotions have increased the number of minutes available to subscribers for use within a limited period of time thereby creating congestion in the networks as subscribers try to use up the available minutes within the stipulated time.

ii. That on-net calls were now being offered by Operators at tariffs well below the prevailing inter-connect rates thereby introducing anti-competitive practices and behaviour.

iii. That termination of calls were becoming increasingly difficult from one network to another and overall consumer experience on the networks has become very poor thereby making it extremely difficult for subscribers to make calls successfully.

Consequent upon the above-mentioned, the Commission therefore has banned all promotions by Telecommunications Network Operators as well as lotteries being carried out on such networks. This ban covers all proposed and approved promotions and lotteries on which the Commission has given approval further to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entered into with the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC).

This ban is with immediate effect and shall continue to remain in force until such a time as may be determined by the Commission. The Telecom Operators affected by this include the following:


The Commission wishes to assure all Telecommunications consumers of its resolve to ensure that the Quality of Service offered across all networks is such that delivers value to the consumers.

Tony Ojobo
Director, Public Affairs

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