19.9.03

Don’t call me today……..

That's right, today Nigerians are protesting against high tarrifs from the mobile phone companies by switching off their phones. The mobile phone companies will loose millions today, as no one is making calls. Someone in my office who tried to be smart by not joining the protest, just discovered he can't call anyone, all their phones are off !! So he's joined us.......

I spend on average about N6000(Nigerian Naira) a month on my phone bills. This works out at about 30 (British) pounds a month. I used to spend an average of this while I was in the UK for my mobile phone, however in Nigeria this only allows me to talk for about a total of 30 minutes !! That's right, 50 naira a minute........which is a rip-off. In the UK, I had 1550 minutes off peak and I had to use the phone a bit to get a bill of 30 pounds..........This is plain unfair, and it's a rip-off......plain and simple. To top it all up, the service is appalling. In the UK, if your call is dropped for any reason, and you call the same number back immediately, you get the first call for free(On Orange anyway). When I moved from the university to my uncle's house in Liverpool, the coverage there was poor, and my calls kept getting dropped. My phone bill dropped to about 20 pounds per month, until the mobile phone sorted out the problem a few months later. And on top of all this, calls in Nigeria are charged by the minute as opposed to by the second. That means a 1 minute 1 second call and a 1 minute 59 second call cost the same.

The Nigerian governement awarded mobile phone licenses in 2001 to three companies....MTN, Econet and NITEL. MTN has now become the largest mobile phone network in Africa, as Nigerians bought over a million lines from them alone. They now have more subcribers in Nigeria, than their home country of South Africa. They make over 1 billion Naira in a day....(136 Naira to the dollar, 220 Naira to the pound).

The Nigerian government has not helped with the low tarrifs, so the people have decided to take matters in their own hands. Let's force the prices down and improve the services.

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