“Why Is MTN Making Life Harder For Nigerians?”—Nigerians Lament Alleged Plans To Frustrate SMEs
Some Nigerians have alleged that telecommunication company, MTN is stifling the progress of Nigeria’s small and medium-sized enterprises by ensuring that access to airtime and data through simple technology is cumbersome.
One of those affected by the company’s recent policy said with the increase in the transfer charges on USSD, the company is looking to drive Nigerian SMEs who sell data and airtime out of business.
“With MTN Nigeria, your personal information is not safe. Why is that? MTN insists that most of their customers use their own (MTN) apps or applications to buy recharge for both voice and data services because they want to collect as much personal information from customers as possible.
“This means MTN can share your details which includes your phone number, Bank Verification Number, amongst others, to third parties for targeted advertising and possibly phishing. Do you still receive unsolicited SMS on your MTN line? That is because MTN is sharing your phone numbers with companies that are willing to pay for it.
“These companies then target you even though you never requested for their service. You will notice that you randomly receive SMS from companies asking you to take quick loans or lure you into a competition where you can win millions of naira.
“There are two things involved. The first is that MTN has made its customers vulnerable and has stepped up its game by insisting that you use their applications like MTNTopit and MoMo channels to transact. This helps them monitor your transactions as well as monitor your browsing history.”
The source echoes the concerns of many other Nigerians who have accused MTN of showing gross negligence to customers who do not use smartphones.
“They did not factor such customers into their nefarious plans. Instead of encouraging more customers to embrace USSD, they are pushing them back into the era when we used to buy paper recharge cards,” the source said.
“The question is simple, is this obtainable in South Africa? Why is Nigeria the guinea pig for MTN’s callous scheme? Why is MTN making life harder for Nigerians and why are they selling personal information to third parties?
“Remember when the Nigerian government fined MTN? For some reasons, they were allowed to get away with it. How does the NCC explain how the $5.2 billion fine was reduced to a paltry sum? Is the Nigerian government culpable? Is the Nigerian government concerned about the safety of its citizens?
“The NCC has been slow in reacting to some of the monopolistic actions by the MTN. In a circular, MTN asked their customer service agents to pacify customers, why? Why is MTN asking customer service agents to pacify Nigerians if it has not committed any atrocious act?”
Meanwhile, a feud between Nigerian banks and MTN on Friday left millions of subscribers unable to recharge their phones using the USSD services on Friday. That was after banks shut off the telecoms firm over fees charged for the service.
MTN advised its subscribers to seek alternative means of recharging their phones without informing them of the problem.
“Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you,” one message read.
Another read: “Please be informed that some of our customers may not be able to purchase airtime and data recharges via banks including MOD and myMTN App.
“Please pacify our customers and educate them to use MTNTopit, MoMo channels, as well as the debit card options on MOD or myMTN App.”
A message posted on the MTN Nigeria Support handle on Twitter states that the development is a “technical glitch” that is being worked on.
“We want to buy data and we want to continue to do it using our USSD; we do not want to use MTN apps that will enable MTN to have more of our information and sell them to third parties.
“In conclusion, every Nigerian must note that their information is not safe on the MTN apps and if we do not kick against it, then they have us where they want us,” the source added.
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