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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.

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

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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.” 

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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.” 

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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: [email protected]



  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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Tech News

Twitter CEO auctions his first-ever tweet on Twitter, bidding at $2.5 million

Jack Dorsey is auctioning his first-ever tweet on a website that sells tweets as non-fungible tokens.



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Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey is auctioning his first-ever tweet on Twitter “just setting up my twttr” on a website that sells tweets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The tweet was listed for sale on ‘Valuables by Cent’ – a tweets marketplace that was launched three months ago. The tweet was first made in March 2006

The tweet received offers as high as $88,888.88 within minutes of Jack tweeting a link to the listing on” Valuables by Cent” on Friday.

Currently, bidding has reached $2.5 million (€2.1 million) indicating the potential in selling virtual objects that have been authenticated through blockchain technology.

The highest bid for the tweet — $2.5 million — came from Bridge Oracle CEO Sina Estavi. It topped cryptocurrency pioneer, Justin Sun’s $2 million bid.

The final buyer of the tweet will receive a certificate, digitally signed and verified by Jack Dorsey, as well as the metadata of the original tweet. The data will include information such as the time the tweet was posted and its text contents. Most of this information, however, is already publicly available.

According to Valuables by Cent’s terms, 95% of a tweet’s sale will go to the original creator while the remainder will go to the website.

What you should know

  • NFTs is a unique digital certificate that states who owns a photo, video, or other forms of online media.
  • Dorsey’s 15-year-old tweet is one of the most famous tweets ever on the platform.
  • Bidding had reached $2.5 million (€2.1 million) on Saturday, indicating the potential in selling virtual objects that have been authenticated through blockchain technology.
  • More people are currently bidding their tweets on the platform.

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Stock Market

Bamboo’s current rate for buying U.S Stocks weakens to N492/$1

Bamboo is currently offering its users a premium of more than 20% compared to the official exchange rate.



The fast-rising Nigerian stock broking application, Bamboo, is currently offering an exchange rate of N492 to the dollar.

About two weeks ago,  the Nigerian stock trading app offered an exchange rate of about N484 to $1.

The green-colored trading app known for allowing local-based Nigerians to invest in stocks listed on the world’s biggest stock market (New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ) is currently offering its users a premium of more than 20% compared to the official exchange rate set by the Nigerian apex bank.

READ: Nigerian Bitcoin P2P surges by 15% since CBN Crypto ban

That being said, Nairametrics’s most recent research observed Chaka. ng offers the lowest exchange rate charge of N480 to 1$, other Nigerian-based stock trading apps that include Throve and Risevest currently offer their clients N491.68 and N486 to $1 respectively.

In addition, other leading fintech platforms reviewed by Nairametrics also presently offer exuberant rates as high as about N519 to a dollar, thereby adding more transaction costs on a significant number of Nigerians hoping to trade such financial assets.

A growing number of Nigerians are currently increasing their exposure to the U.S stock market taking to the current bearish trend that is being witnessed in the Nigerian Equity market and growing urge in hedging against the weakening local currency.

Consequently, a lot of Nigerians are flocking the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the account it has about 2,800 companies listed, while the NASDAQ has about 3,300 stocks listed. This gives Nigerian investors numerous options where they can invest their money. It is also why the US economy attracts billions of dollars in portfolio investments annually.

READ: Many Nigerians are trooping into foreign stock markets

Bamboo is an investment platform that gives Africans real-time access to invest in or trade over 3,500 stocks listed on the American and Nigerian exchanges right from their smartphones or personal computer.

In partnership with US-based Drive Wealth LLC, Bamboo provides seamless, secure access to US and Nigerian securities.

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