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Nigerians pick on MTN, Airtel, request for free data, airtime not SMS

Some Nigerians took to Twitter to lament over the actions of MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria demanding for more than just free SMS



Internet World Stats, Nigerian Communications Commission remittance, Network operators in Nigeria, Telecoms companies in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Airtel Africa, Globacom data, 9mobile court case, Top 10 states in Nigeria with the highest Internet subscribers , Telecommunications: The bright spot in a fragile economy, Telcos add 5.64 million voice and data subscribers in Q3 2019 - NBS , Alleged N200bn Debt: EFCC, DSS to probe telcos, Network glitch, as poor internet speed continues to impede banking services, Telecoms record 725% increase in foreign capital investment, as GDP contribution hits N6 trillion, Coronavirus: Instant messaging platforms, Telcos raking in funds from the work-from-home policy, Telecoms: Bright spot amidst the gloom, Nigerians lambast MTN, Airtel for offering free SMS, ignoring request for free data, airtime

Some Nigerians took to Twitter to lament over the actions of MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria, Telecommunications firms. The telcos had promised their subscribers free SMS, as they comply with the sit at home order of the Federal Government.

The telcos took the decision after the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, appealed to them via his Twitter to offer their subscribers free data or airtime.


Keyamo made the appeal in order to ease the economic impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian workers, but instead, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria chose to offer their subscribers free SMS.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Airtel Nigeria said, “Airtel announces free SMS to all customers to connect with loved ones. Free SMS can be sent to all your friends and family across any network.” On the other hand, MTN Nigeria said it customers can send free 10 SMS daily for 30 days.

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Nigerians castigated the Telcos:

But this act of generosity did not go down well with Nigerians who stormed the Twitter accounts of these telcos to let register their displeasure. @Drmuzoic responded to MTN, stating, “We need data to work effectively from home and stay abreast of new updates online. Take your SMS and reduce the price of data.” 

[READ MORE: Nigerians react as DStv donates N1.2 billion, demand free subscription amidst Coronavirus lockdown)

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Another twitter user, @onyipomping said, “We don’t need free SMS. Give us free data. Stingy network” While supporting Onyipomping, @Ajayidoying stated, “We hardly send SMS, we want data. SMS to do what?” 



Meanwhile, @KelvinAganbi tweeted, “In other news, you are giving all your customers #1,200. Please convert mine to data. Thank you.” @official_dlaw seconded Aganbi’s tweet, “That’s 2gig data na based on their current price. How hard could it be,” he asked MTN Nigeria

Also, @Amally_A told MTN Nigeria, “Data would have been better or even appreciated, SMS is outdated, reduce the price of subscription even if you can’t make it free, be considerate during this trying time.” 

@screengoddez tweeted, “This Life we need data more than sms. MTN Nigeria is just playing with Nigerians. Why won’t they gift their customers data and phone call airtime? When they know Nigerians rarely send SMS these days because there are various messaging and social media apps for texts.” 


Subscribers of Airtel Nigeria also lamented, with @obagomez1 stating, “Nice gesture, but in all honesty; 65% of your consumer base are more “internet/data” driven. I’d be glad to see a rolled out data price slash and higher lasting data volume even for 14days.” 

The free offer also didn’t go down well with @duckieworld1 who tweeted, “When someone can send message on WhatsApp and other social media. You came up with SMS. You would have just said MMS make we know say na Stone Age we de. Well it is a matter of t.” 

@illest_rukboi had no kind words for the red network, stating, “Thunder will keee u people and your SMS. Shebi una thin say na multilinks era na im  we dey abi. Animals” 

[READ ALSO: COVID-19: Nigerians in diaspora have not asked to be evacuated – FG)

@Zadokzibar said, “Simply slash the price of data.. That’s all…… What is SMS.” 

Why Nigerians are not satisfied: Most people hardly use SMS now. The internet has enabled platforms like WhatsApp send long messages that SMS can’t convey. Also, most people now work-from-home following the lockdown by the Federal Government.

And with data price still on the high-side, it’s expected that the preference will be data and not SMS because the later is limited in function, but data enables internet users do more things on the web.


Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips:



  1. Efe

    April 3, 2020 at 7:06 am

    All this Telecom companies are simply overriding and exploiting us, they don’t do this sh*ts in other countries. Can MTN do same thing in South Africa? What did Airtel do in India? Anyway, this poor treatments is largely because even the so called Nigerian regulators are more interested in filling up their individual pockets than actually doing their jobs. It’s a sorry situation.

  2. Suleiman Nazifi

    April 3, 2020 at 8:44 am

    pls we need free Data not Free 300 SmS.

  3. Anonymous

    April 3, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    This Telecommunication companies are just messed up in Nigeria. Smh

  4. Andrew Joshua

    April 4, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Both MTN and AIRTEL
    on behalf of both MTN and AIRTEL customers…. I will like to show our appreciation on the free SMS
    GLO that is from NIGERIA did nothing to its country….. Thanks alot to MTN and AIRTEL

  5. Sam chukwu

    April 4, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Are u an MTN user? How much have you spent on data since covid-19 outbreak? Do u think MTN appreciate ur patronage by giving u N300 worth of sms for a month? Do u think MTN should do more? Join the protest……..
    Please share

    • Anonymous

      April 17, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      We need data not SMS,

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Economy & Politics

Output cut: Nigeria leads in OPEC non-compliance with 50 unsold cargoes of crude

Nigeria and Iraq were reported not to have kept to their commitment to the huge production cut deal that had promised to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels of crude oil per day.



Petroleum Industry Bill to be passed by mid-2020, says Sylva, FG discovers crude oil in north, says there’s more , OPEC, non-OPEC countries to meet as Saudi, Russia price war affects Nigeria’s budget, FG considers fuel price reduction, OPEC deal: Nigeria to generate additional $2.8 billion revenue as FG reacts

As opinions continue to differ on whether OPEC will extend its current oil output cut beyond June, available information has shown that not all members of the oil cartel complied fully with their agreed quotas for the month of May. This is despite the fact that the oil output by OPEC member countries reached its lowest in almost 20 years.

Available data from showed that OPEC members cut their output by 5.91 million barrels per day from the April level, producing 24.77 million barrels per day. This figure also showed a 4.48 million barrel per day of the agreed output cut, thereby representing a 74% compliance level.


Nigeria and Iraq were reported not to have kept to their commitment to the huge production cut deal that had promised to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Iraq was able to achieve just 38% compliance of its agreed output cut for the month of May, while Nigeria, which achieved a much lower compliance of the agreed output cut, recorded 19% compliance of what was agreed. Saudi Arabia showed the highest compliance, recording 96% of the agreed output cut.

Some have attributed the noncompliance of some members of OPEC to the agreed output cut, to the contractual obligations and commitment to buyers, given the short timeframe between when the agreement for the output cut was made and its implementation.

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Meanwhile oil exports from Angola and Congo remained steady at high prices on Friday, while Nigerian oil fared lower amid huge inventory of unsold cargoes.

Nigeria continues to face some difficulty in the oil market, primarily due to sluggish demand from Europe; it has around 50 unsold cargoes of crude oil yet to be sold for the months of June and July.

Meanwhile, India has become one of the few buyers for the Nigerian oil. Indian oil firms bought about 5-6 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil last week and has bought about 2 million barrels as at Thursday this week.

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Business News

President Muhammadu Buhari reshuffles NNPC’s board of directors

Note that the former board included the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari as a member. Stakeholders have since expected the President to reconstitute a new board to take over.



President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on Monday, receives update and recommendations from PTF

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reconstitution of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) after the expiration of the tenure of the current board.

The newly constituted board members are expected to serve for a tenure of three years, effective immediately. They will take over from the last board, whose 3-year tenure officially ended in 2019. Information about this development is contained in a State House press release that was published on the official twitter handle of the Nigerian Presidency on Saturday morning.


READ MORE: Construction of ICT Parks nudges Nigeria into digital transformation

READ ALSO: CBN and NIPOST open pilot microfinance branches

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The newly constituted NNPC board is made up of six members from each of the geo-political zones in the country. The members include the following individuals:

  • Mallam Mohammed Lawal, representing the North West
  • Dr Tajudeen Umar from North East
  • Adamu Mahmood  Attah from North Central
  • Senator Magnus Abe from the South-South
  • Dr Stephen Dike from the South East, and
  • Chief Pius Akinyelure from the South West geo-political

READ MORE: Boko Haram: A protracted battle yet to be won?  

Of the six members, three are returning members on the board – Chief Pius Akinyelure, Mallam Mohammed Lawal, and Dr Tajudeen Umar from North East.

Note that the constitution of the new board is considered a welcome development, as it balances the representation of the six geo-political zones on the board. The previous constitution of the board was faulted for not being “balanced”.

READ ALSO: Full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 58th Independence day broadcast


Note that the former board included the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari as a member. Stakeholders have since expected the President to reconstitute a new board to take over.


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Around the World

Zoom’s market valuation hits $50 billion mark, thanks to COVID-19

Zoom’s share price now trades at an eye-watering 55 times estimated revenue compared with an average of 7 times for information technology stocks in the S&P 500, according to information obtained from Bloomberg.




Zoom Video Communications’ shares surged to record highs on Friday, as bullish runs in the last hours of trading helped the company to close with a market capitalization of more than $50 billion. The stock gained about 9.7% to jump to $179.48, thereby giving it a market value of $50.6 billion. 

Note that this is the first time Zoom’s valuation is reaching this high level since it became a quoted company. The tech giant, which owns popular video conferencing software “Zoom”,  has gained more than 160% this year. This is because investors are betting that the surge in Zoom users amid the COVID-19 pandemic, would eventually translate to long-lasting revenue growth.


READ ALSO: How VCs are encouraging terrible business practices by founders

Zoom’s share price now trades at an eye-watering 55 times estimated revenue compared with an average of 7 times for information technology stocks in the S&P 500, according to information obtained from Bloomberg.

Following the significant jump in the company’s valuation, the net worth of its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Eric Yuan, also rose significantly by more than $800 million on Friday. He now has a net worth of $9.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 

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Meanwhile, in reaction to Zoom’s overnight success, Gennie Gebhart, a researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said she hoped Zoom would change course and offer protected video more widely. It should be recalled that some users of the app had raised security concerns back in April, as Nairametrics reported

READ ALSO: Did Satoshi Nakamoto cause the panic sell-off in Bitcoin market

Meanwhile, Zoom has recruited Alex Stamos, a former chief security officer at Facebook, and other top security experts to help deal with the security issues which led to some top companies banning its use. While discussing efforts being made to deal with the security challenges, Stamos told Reuters:

 “At the same time that Zoom is trying to improve security, they are also significantly upgrading their trust and safety. The CEO is looking at different arguments. The current plan is paid customers plus enterprise accounts where the company knows who they are.” 

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