Embattled GSM operator, Econet Wireless Nigeria, has concluded arrangements to compensate aggrieved subscribers who have been complaining against the company’s decision to reduce all accumulated validity on the company’s network to 150 days.

The decision which was announced sometimes in June, had pitched the operator against some of its subscribers especially those who had accumulated validity for upward of four years, leading to many law suits. But in an apparent move to pacify such subscribers, the operator has put a compensation package in place which would be rolled out tomorrow, Vanguard can reveal exclusively.

Although details of the compensation package was not available as at press time, Vanguard gathered that the package is segmented in three according to the level of validity accumulated by each subscriber before the hammer.

The first segment deals with those subscribers whose validity was just above the five months maximum. The second segment deals with those whose lost validity was about a year, while the third segment is for those whose validity was beyond one year and above.

The compensation, packaged as a loyalty programme, is graded according to the amount of validity lost by subscribers. For those in the first category, Econet plans for them some free SMS for a specific period. Those subscribers who fall within the category of the second group would have free SMS in addition to some extended validity window; while those in the third category would have a discounted tariff as well as free SMS.Sources within the company said that the level of discount on calls for the third category would be more than 20% at the least.

But beyond the compensation, the development is seen in the industry as a confirmation of the fact that Nigerians could soon be witnessing reduced GSM tariff as competitions stiffens. A player in the industry told Vanguard at the weekend that if Econet could bring down tariff by as much as 20% to compensate some of its subscribers, there was hope that tariff might as well drop in no time in the industry. "This is an important development for the industry from Econet", he said.