Online critics posited that MTN should have offered reduced or free data tariffs when the leading mobile network operator announced earlier in March that its over 70 million subscribers will be able to send 300 free SMS messages per month as part of the company’s Y’ello Hope package created to assist its customers as a result of the economic implications of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Five weeks later, it appears that the free-SMS route may have been the way to go as reports from the company’s Q1 financial results show that over one billion free text messages were sent by MTN customers within the first four weeks of introducing the offer!
The free SMS package allows MTN Nigeria subscribers across the country to send 10 free SMS daily for 30 days to all networks. With the cost of an SMS pegged at N4, that means MTN has offset an estimated 4 billion Naira worth of text messages in the first month alone.
Predicting what will happen in the next two months would be next to impossible, however, the premise to offer SMS incentives was based on statistics which shows that over 30% of MTN customers are not data subscribers and are among the most vulnerable Nigerians being severely impacted by the virus outbreak.
Other incentives available to customers during the period include free 100MB daily to access verified information on health platforms such as Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and educational materials on MTN’s Teens platform, mPulse.
In addition, the company suspended transaction fees for all Cash2Cash transfers via its Mobile Money (MoMo) Agent Network.
MTN Nigeria introduced the Y’ello Hope Package as a broad set of interventions to support its customers and communities in addition to the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus while ensuring customers remain connected to their loved ones and other critical resources.