Last year, two FUTO students [Great Futoites] published on Nairaland on how to get free airtime from MTN. The post was quickly taken down. Simply, they tried to reverse an algorithm which MTN uses for pricing. They noted that by not loading after a while or loading very small amount, MTN will offer higher rewards. But there was a pain point: you possibly would need two phones and you may be required to freeze usage to trick the MTN algorithm.
Nothing illegal – just young men using curiosity to get more airtime: think of them as SEO engineers exploring how to make websites discoverable by Google search engine. To be a good SEO engineer, you must have a clue what Google does by deducing many things. Here, they tried to understand how MTN bonus algorithm worked.
You know what – they are right. MTN is the most advanced telco in Nigeria on using big data analytics to serve customers especially on its bonus program. I have benefited from their algorithm; last year, they gave me N16,000 worth of credit after loading N1,000. But I have an advantage; I visit Nigeria and leave, tricking the bonus algorithm to maximum all deals to keep me.
In the engine, MTN might be thinking I was in Nigeria and maybe over 2 months did not load MTN. Then, I appeared, loaded, and the engine said “release the highest bonus to make this customer happy”. Unfortunately for the engine, I disappear again. That has been the game. Then, MTN got tired of my number and stopped giving me bonus, despite not loading after a long period. As it stands, the bonus is now typical – getting the normal double!
With its algorithm, MTN is creating perception demand in the minds of customers – and winning. MTN has used this construct to pick users from 9Mobile which has lost more than 6 million users since its paralysis began. And most new subscribers – 97.3% – are choosing MTN at large; its bonus system is smart! Out of 3,568,205 users added in May in Nigeria, MTN picked 3,474,208 (GSM users specifically).
According to the latest industry statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the number of GSM internet subscribers in Nigeria grew by 3,568,205 in the month of April. The stats show that the total number of GSM internet subscribers now stands at 119,506,430 – which indicates a massive growth from the 115,938,225 recorded in March.
Of this figure, leading telco, MTN took the lion’s share gaining 3,474,208. This takes its total number of subscribers from 46,552,185 in March to 50,026,393 in April – sealing its position as the market leader.
The second biggest gainer was Globacom with 191,005 new internet users, increasing its subscription from 28,436,386 in March to 28,627,391 in April. Glo was followed by Airtel with 94,412 new users and 31,337,657 total subscribers. Distraught 9mobile continues to trail behind losing over 201,050 subscribers. Its total number of subscribers now stands at 9,441,343. (Technext.ng)
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