Insufficient supply of MTN recharge cards in Lagos and environs due to the inability of dealers and distributors to meet contract obligations is the reason behind the recent hike in prices of low denomination vouchers, BusinessDay reports.
MTN, emerging market focused telecoms firm, has a well-established distribution network structure, which all authorised partners must adhere to, according to the telco.
MTN subscribers in Lagos on Monday woke up to discover that N10 had been added to N100 and N200 recharge cards. This recent price increase is not sitting well with many subscribers as those affected have threatened to dump their lines.
“I woke up this morning (Monday) to find out that N10 have been added to MTN recharge cards of N100 and N200”, said Faith Ehiosun, a student of University of Ado-Ekiti and a resident of Aboru in Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos.
Ehiosun felt the development was an isolated case considering that Aboru is a remote area. “I was astonished to find the same thing in Oshodi and Obalende area of Lagos”, she added.
An informed source close to one of the major distributors in Lagos told BusinessDay that the dealers and distributors had missed contract timelines due to the Christmas and New Year holidays which has in turn created the scarcity of MTN recharge cards.
“Trust Nigerians now, some of these dealers are taking advantage of the situation to increase prices of the vouchers”, our source said.
MTN has the largest subcrriber base in Nigeria with 55.6 million lines, according to its subscriber data for Q3 2013. “There is more demand for MTN recharge cards in Nigeria obviously because of its huge subscription base”, the source said.
Mathias Ikiebe, an applicant and a resident of Lekki Phase 1, said the hike in recharge card prices has left him with no option but to move to rival networks where extra N10 would not be imposed on him.
“I may port or stop buying airtime for my MTN line because I have two other lines”, he added.
Mayowa Balogun, Sunday Toriola and Magdalene Osehi, all undergraduates, are all agreed that no matter how small the added N10 might seem to many it remains added expenditure on the pockets of subscribers who are already dissatisfied with the quality of service by telecom companies in the country.
MTN has disassociated itself from the hike in recharge card prices. Responding through electronic mail, Funmilayo Onajide, general manager, corporate affairs, MTN, said the cost of every recharge card is the value stated on it, adding that any third party selling recharge cards at a value at variance with the face value is acting illegally.
According to her, MTN has a well-established distribution structure and all the authorised partners within this structure are obliged to adhere to it. As at the time of filing in this report, MTN recharge cards of 100 and 200 are currently being sold for N110 and N210, respectively in many places in Lagos including Iyana-Ipaja, Oshodi, Obalende, Victoria Island and Lekki Phase 1, among other places.
BEN UZOR JR & NATHANIEL AKHIGBE