I bought my SIM card with number for 30,000 NAIRA. I made calls 70/per minute, whether it was 25 seconds or 60 seconds. Then MTN held sway.
Glo came. Econet came. Other Telecom companies came. All of a sudden, the price of SIM cards crashed to 3000 and 1000 NAIRA and then nothing! The telecom companies started begging us to pick up their SIM cards for free.
And now, I don’t even know what MTN charges for a minute’s call again. It’s something I take for granted. But in 2004, I always checked my account balance to see how many minute’s call my airtime could sustain. I do not have that worry today.
Competition in the sector has driven down the cost of everything. If my MTN line misbehaves, I buy airtime on my Glo network and make calls from there. There were times when MTN gave me bonuses whenever I had dropped their SIM for other networks just to woo me back.
Occasionally, MTN will role incentives, promos and packages to reward my loyalty. Other telecom companies do the same. The endpoint is always to keep their customers happy and hooked to their brands and services.
All that happened because President Obasanjo deregulated the sector. It appeared a crazy idea when he did it, in fact, the cost we borne was humungous. But all that has eased out to usher in an era of choice that comes with comparative ease today.
If you support the government’s deregulation of the petroleum sector, though initially things will be tough, but ultimately, it will bring happiness just as we experienced in the telecom sector.
Have you ever imagined a situation where independent marketers will fall over their necks just to have you buy fuel in their stations? And then, you, the buyer, will make your yanga whether to buy in station A or B, if their price, quality and quantity is right.
That time will come, and sooner than we expect. So let’s endure the pain of deregulation to enjoy the gain that is sure to come.
By Olu Adegoke & Aremuorin
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