MTN’s Q1 financial result has shown that over one billion free text messages were sent by customers within the first four weeks the network introduced free SMS on its platform to ease the impacts of Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic on its subscribers. The gesture was in response to the challenge by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, who asked telcos to consider giving Nigerians some token airtime and data to ease their pains during the Covid-19 lockdown.
In response to the call, MTN Nigeria, March, announced 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. package means that every subscriber would be able to send10 free SMS daily for 30 days to all networks.
With the cost of an SMS pegged at N4, it means MTN has incurred an estimated 4 billion Naira on text messages in the first month alone. MTN, said the premise to offer SMS incentives was based on statistics which shows that over 30 percent 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 MTN 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.