Nigeria’s Telecom Consumer Parliament condemns telecom promos


Telecom subscribers, who gathered at the 55th Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Lagos at the weekend, spoke with one voice, condemning telecommunication promotions across networks.

The rotational monthly Telecom Consumer Parliament is organised by the Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC), and this month's parliament appears to be the last that the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Ernest Ndukwe, would supervise, having served for two tenures of five years each, and he is on his way to retirement from active public service.

Condemning all telecom promos, subscribers said the exercise was a rip-off on them and that the promos only serve as a means to enrich telecom operators and expand their subscriber number across networks. They called for sanity in the telecom industry and for proper information dissemination on the rules and conduct guiding all promotions, before rolling them out to the public.

An elderly man, who gave his name as 'Baba Adegoke', spoke on his ordeal with the ongoing Globacom Bid2Win promo. He said he was deceived into playing and in the process, he lost over N420,000 to the promo. According to him, he got frequent text messages from Globacom, encouraging him to continue playing, that he was near to winning one million Naira and that he must not lose the chance. "Encouraged by their text messages, I continued playing and when it was done on me that it was all trick, I had already spent over N420,000," 'Baba Adegoke' said. He came to the parliament with a bundle of Globacom recharge card vouchers which he used in playing the promo game.

Others, who spoke, also condemned Etisalat recent past promo, where a 300 level Medical student from the University of Jos won the star prize of $1 million (N150 million). According to him, Etisalat used the money of subscribers, who entered for the promo to enrich a single individual at the expense of other subscribers. "If Etisalat was fair to Nigerians, it could have invited the 150 million Nigerians to its office and offer one million to each person.

In that way, it would have touched the lives of every Nigerian in a positive way, than enriching a single individual who almost ran mad immediately his name was announced as the star prize winner of the promo," Adeyemi Funsho said.

MTN past promos and the ongoing Zain promo, were not spared in the sharp criticism from telecom subscribers at the Telecom Consumer Parliament. Most telecom operators present tried to make defense for themselves. They explained that every promo was a reward scheme designed to make millionaires out of subscribers, insisting that the promos were real.

Responding, NCC's EVC, Ernest Ndukwe said consumers ought to have been educated on all forms of promos and that operators must learn to differentiate between reward scheme, telecom promo and lottery game. He said the Commission would invite the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the Lottery Commission to discuss best practices in telecom promos, and to spell out the true state of loyalty scheme, telecom promo and lottery game, which Ndukwe said, had been abused.