The GSM Warfare in Nigeria – How The Telcos Are Fighting for Market Share in Nigeria

The GSM Warfare in Nigeria – How The Telcos Are Fighting for Market Share in Nigeria

Airtel, MTN, Etisalat and Glo are out for wars now. They are creating products and aggressively looking for market share. They must because unlike a decade ago, Nigerians have choices now and service and products make the differences.

Fancy adverts. Great promotions. Everywhere adverts. The billboards. It is such a big program in Africa’s largest GSM market.

For a nation that talks and does not write. Hello Africans; that is in our DNA. We lived for centuries without developing any indigenous way of writing. No wonder, talk is business for the telcos.

Enjoy this report from Vanguard.


The latest onslaught could be said to have begun last August when Etisalat Nigeria introduced a new tariff proposition called Easy Life, which allows customers on the company’s Easy Starter and Easy Cliq packages to make calls at the lower rate of 25kobo per second to anyone on any network in Nigeria. The tariff review, according to officials of Etisalalt, was predicated on the company’s commitment to bringing value and affordable tariffs to the company’s customers.


A few months down the line, and as part of its strategy to woo customers after rebranding, Airtel was to respond with a promotional offer dubbed as the ‘2Good Offer’. The new package enables its customers to pay 20kobo per second after an initial 60kobo in the first minute, and applies to both to Airtel-to-Airtel calls as well as calls to other networks in Nigeria and the United States.  Additionally, the 2Good Offer gives 20 free SMSes to every customer who makes a recharge of N100 every month.


A few weeks into year 2011however, MTN on its part rolled out three new voice plans for its subscribers, namely, MTN Magic number, MTN Talk-On and MTN Family and Friends, each focussing on the lower ARPU segment of the market.


A careful examination of the offer shows that the MTN magic number is modelled after tariffs in the advanced economies, where a subscriber is given the option to pay a flat rate for an indefinite number of calls per month. In the MTN Nigeria scenario, subscribers pay N250 per month and receive an unlimited amount of monthly call time to one specific MTN number which the subscriber has designated as his/her magic number for that particular month.


MTN Talk-On, on its part, allows the subscriber up to 50% discount on MTN-to-MTN calls only, with the first minute charged at 50kobo per second, thereafter, on net calls are charged at 25kobo per second for the rest of the day.


In the same vein, Family & Friends allows subscribers to register 4 MTN numbers, 1 other GSM network number and 1 United States or Canadian number, the subscribers can then call all these numbers at 20kobo per second.


Another addition to the MTN True Value Offer is the MTN Happy Hour which allows free calls to as many MTN numbers between the hours of 12.30 am and 4.40 am every day, weekends inclusive. However, the service is limited to subscribers on the MTN Paygo and Talk-on plans.


However, in its characteristic manner of jolting the Nigerian telephony market, Globacom on Thursday, March 10 announced the introduction of a new Glo infinito which allows subscribers to pay only 25 kobo per second for calls made to any network in Nigeria.


The 25 kobo per second charge is a flat rate which applies for all local calls irrespective of which network is being called or time of day or which part of the country the call is originating from.


The new package also allows subscribers to call one Special Number at only 2 kobo per second. Interestingly, no daily or monthly rental is charged to enjoy the very cheap rate. The subscriber, however, has an option of registering 5 Glo numbers which he can call at 18 kobo per second. Again, registration is free and there is no rental charge.


In addition to the tariffs, Glo is also offering up to 20% bonus on recharges made by subscribers. N500 recharge attracts a 10% bonus credit, while N1000 recharge will give the customer 15% bonus air time. On the other hand, N5,000 recharge gives a 20% bonus credit to the customer.


Glo is also offering free night calls from 12 midnight to 5 a.m. Subscribers are expected to have used up to N200 air time in the previous week to qualify to make free night calls for the next 7 days.


Perhaps, the new tariff regime may reposition the brand, including shifting public perception of Glo as a challenger-brand to the transformer and creator of history in the Nigerian telecom industry.


Looking more closely at the different offers and value propositions of the operators, ranging from Etisalat’s Easy Life to Airtel’s 2Good, from MN’s True Value to Globacom’s Maximum Value, it would appear that interesting times are here for the Nigerian GSM consumers even as he has risen from being on the receiving end of harsh realities to a new-found position of freedom and kingship.


But with the new Glo offer, the subscriber gets a truthful and easy-to-understand payment plan. For instance, while the Glo subscriber pays N15 for first minute of call made within and outside the network, other networks charge between N24 and N30 for calls within the network and between N30 and N36 for calls going outside the network.


It may not be out of place to say that the latest Glo offer is another revolutionary phase in telecom services, as its unique tariff plan is devoid of any rental payments, hidden charges, and conditions.


This may become the stimulant that would propel more growth in the sector and continue to make Nigeria’s telecom the toast of investors across the world.

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