MTN Nigeria subscribers base may drop as a result of the increase in retail prices of the telecoms operator's recharge cards, Daily Trust's findings have shown.
Already, some of its subscribers have begun the process of 'porting' to other networks because of what they said is MTN's insensitivity over the increase in prices of its recharge cards.
But the company's spokespersons said the company had not increased the retail prices of its cards and its subscribers should not pay more than prices stated on them.
Subscribers would hear none of this. They insisted MTN may have been by putting the blame on its dealers.
Speaking with our reporter, a resident of Abuja, who is an MTN subscriber, Abayomi Ige, said he would have to 'port' from MTN to another network if MTN would not take strong decision to stop "the illegal extra amounts being added to its cards by vendors."
He said: "I believe the vendors or dealers would not have been adding the extra amounts if MTN had not jerked up the prices of its cards. So, MTN should so something now or else they lose me as their customer."
Another subscriber in Lagos, who pleaded anonymity, said he had already 'ported' from MTN as he could "afford to be buying MTN cards with extra charges."
He said: " If they have problems with their dealers, let them sort it out instead of passing it on us, subscribers. Meanwhile, I have left their network. No more, no less."
Daily Trust findings yesterday showed that the telecoms operator's recharge cards are still being sold above the stated retail prices in some places in Lagos and Abuja.
Uche Sunny, a journalist, told Daily Trust in Abuja that some vendors in the city centre had stopped the addition but those in the satellite towns still put the addition.
He said "what I do now is to buy MTN recharge cards around my office at the city centre to avoid paying illegal N20 extra being added at the satellite towns."
He called on MTN to "sanction its dealers who might have been adding the extra money."
Recharge cards vendors have been adding N10 or N20 to price of each MTN recharge card denomination since three weeks ago, a development dealers blamed on MTN who, they said, had increased the prices at which it used to sell the cards to them.
Many other subscribers and vendors spoken with by Daily Trust yesterday also confirmed that N10 or N20 is still being added on various denominations of the cards.
MTN had denied increasing the retail prices of its recharge cards, saying any variance from the authorised face value of recharge cards is without MTN's knowledge or authority.
MTN's Corporate Services Executive Wale Goodluck said: "We have not affected a price increase and the retail prices of the various denominations of our recharge cards and recharge vouchers remain the same. The recharge vouchers come in the following denominations: N1, 500, N750, N400, N200 and N100."
Also, the company's General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Olufunmilayo Onajide said: "The price of every recharge card is the amount stated on it. MTN has a well-established distribution structure and all our authorized partners within this structure are obliged to adhere to this. Any sale of recharge cards at variance from the authorized face value is without MTN's authority."
But the MTN dealers had told Daily Trust that the telecoms operator was economical with the truth by saying it didn't authorise increase in the prices of its airtime.
The dealers' spokeman had told Daily Trust on phone that MTN met with them last year where a decision to increase the prices of its recharge cards was made.
The spokesman, who pleaded anonymity, said MTN had told them that from January they would no longer get the cards at prices it used to sell to them.
He said: "Before N100 denomination used to be sold to us at N90, then we in turn sell at N93 or N94 to sub-dealers and they sell at N97 or N98. And that is why it was sold by the vendors at N100 then. Additions were made by MTN on the other cards, depending on the denomination. "But now, MTN sells to us at N95, we sell at N96 or N97 sub dealers sell at N98 or N99. And this is why vendors are forced to sell at N110 in some places.
"And this decision (to increase price) was taken after the meeting MTN held with some of us. The company even said any dealer that couldn't cope with new price regime was free to leave dealing with it.
"I wouldn't know if this was what made them to prune down the number of their dealers nationwide. You know, some of the dealers are no longer selling MTN cards."