Subscribers kick over MTN recharge card price hike
Posted by News Express | 10 April 2017 | 3,779 times
MTN subscribers are expressing anger over alleged sudden increase on the price of the telecommunications giant’s recharge cards by some retailers and dealers.
The development, which gradually became evident over the weekend, has forced some subscribers to opt for other networks’ recharge cards.
Except for those who have no alternative line(s), the purchase of the recharge cards at prices above the face value has been shunned by many in the past few days.
Investigations by Independent revealed that some of the retailers sell at different prices higher than the actual card price value.
However, some retailers who may not be in the know of the new card prices perhaps because they were yet to exhaust old stock still sell at card value prices.
Speaking with a retailer in Oworonshoki area of Lagos State, Mrs. Funmilayo Yekini, said the new prices came into effect on Wednesday last week.
“I was surprised when I went to buy recharge cards from the dealer on Tuesday and was told that the prices of MTN cards had changed. When I asked why, they said it is from MTN office. Although the network’s cards move faster than the rest, I had to reduce the quantity I wanted to buy because I believe it would not sell as fast as I used to sell because of the change in price. My customers will rather go for other networks selling at the normal price than to part with extra naira for MTN. And that is exactly what I have been experiencing in the past one or two days,” she explained.
Continuing, Yekini said the N1,000 card now sells for N1,100, N500 for N550, N200 sells for N220 while N100 card goes for N110.
Corroborating Yekini, another retailer in Alausa, Ikeja, who declined to identify herself, said the new prices of MTN cards have affected her business negatively, because most people working at Lagos State Secretariat and environs use MTN network more than other networks.
“The fastest moving recharge card has been that of MTN. But with the new prices, there is a reduction in the number of my customers who have continued to query me over the hike in price. With all my explanations that I bought them with at higher price than it used to be, they would simply ask for other networks’ cards which still sell at the face value prices”, she said.
At Ojodu-Berger axis in Lagos, some retailers still sell the cards at the card value price while others have also adjusted their selling prices upward.
A subscriber who simply identified himself as Donatus, who was asking a retailer the rationale behind the increase on the network’s recharge card, said the action is not going to help MTN if it is not checked immediately.
“I cannot understand the reason justifying this increase. What is provoking about all this is the fact that it is only MTN cards that are selling at these abnormal prices. You can see that I am being delayed by the card seller because of N80 balance. I bought the N200 card for N220 simply because I don’t have an alternative line with me here. If not, I would have bought an Airtel at the normal price instead of this cheating. The fact is that MTN must find out what is happening and address it, except if the service provider itself is the one that triggered this; and that would be unfortunate,” he stated.
When Independent contacted Funso Aina, MTN Nigeria spokesperson, through a text message, there was no reply as at press time.
Speaking with the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) President, Deolu Ogunbanjo, he said he was not aware of the increase in prices of MTN cards.
“That will be a serious matter. But I am not aware of that yet. I will find out, and if it happens to be true, we will take the necessary step,” he quipped.
A visit to a dealer shop at Bariga, Lagos, revealed that retailers now buy less MTN recharge cards. When a representative of the dealer who preferred anonymity was asked why the low request for MTN cards, he said the prices have been adjusted due to shortage of supply by the network.
“Our retailers are afraid of buying them because of the slight price change. They said it may hold their business down as they anticipate low patronage of the MTN cards which everyone knows to be the fastest selling cards because of the wide network coverage.”
For Lilian Agbaje in Auchi, Edo State, the increased prices of MTN is not really new. She said retailers like her have been selling above the card value prices because the dealers also sell to them at higher prices perhaps recommended by MTN.
“On Tuesday, when I went to buy cards from the card dealer, all networks’ cards were available, except MTN. The only card denomination available was that of N100. Those of N200 and N500 were not available. The dealer simply told me that MTN cards are scarce for now. The dealers now sell a roll of 10 N100 recharge cards to retailers for N1000. That means we have to sell a card for N110 to subscribers to cover cost”, she said.
Other areas also visited showed that the price increase varied. Some retailers sell N1000 card for N1100 and N1050.
That of N500 sells for between N520 and N550, while those of N200 and N100 go for N220 and N110, respectively.
It would be recalled that towards the end of 2013, telecom giant MTN’s recharge card prices suddenly shot up. While MTN disowned the increase, its dealers accused it of being economical with the truth.
The telecom operator stated in a statement in 2014: “Any such hike is contrary to MTN’s wishes or knowledge. MTN has a well-established distribution structure and all our authorised partners within this structure are obliged to sell recharge cards at their face value. Any variance from the authorised face value of recharge cards is without MTN’s knowledge or authority.”
With the latest development, it is hoped that the MTN will rise to the challenge of making its dealers and retailers maintain recommended prices and ensure that the over 60 million subscribers on its network buy them at the actual prices. (Independent)