●Service cost N3.7bn
Mobile subscribers on the MTN networks sent a total of 925 million free text messages in the last two months, the telco has said.
MTN, which announced the free SMS on April 2, 2020, as part of its palliative packages to cushion the effects of the COVID-19, said the value of the free SMS so far sent by its customers as of June 19, stood at N3.7 billion.
At N4.00 per unit, MTN has been offering its customers 10 SMS per day for free and 300 per month since April.
While the offer to telecom subscribers is expected to end this month, the telco in an update on its palliative measures, said the initiative was implemented “to ensure that while faced with unprecedented challenges and uncertainties during the initial phases of the COVID-19 outbreak, all MTN’s customers would be able to access loved ones, support systems, and information.”
“As of June 19, 2020, the network has provided 3.71 billion free SMS to more than 51 million subscribers across every state of the Nigerian Federation; which means 75 per cent of all MTN subscribers have now utilised the service during the pandemic,” the telco stated.
Commenting on the update, MTN CEO, Ferdi Moolman, said: “Having entered the third and final month of this, I am hugely encouraged that so many people nation-wide have made use of the service. The three billion-plus text messages sent so far reflects the importance of communication during times like this, especially for the most vulnerable amongst us.
“I am grateful to our government and regulators, partners, and employees for the roles they have played in making the delivery of this service possible, and encourage our subscribers to continue to make use of it until the end of June.”
To support the fight against the pandemic in the country, MTN Nigeria had also announced a commitment of N500 million through its corporate social responsibility arm, MTN Foundation, towards addressing emerging medical needs.
In addition, the telecom operator said it had also provided all SME customers of its enterprise business with 30 days grace on their March invoices.
According to MTN, SME’s unable to pay March invoices would enjoy uninterrupted services through April.
“This ‘grace period’ is aimed at mitigating the impact of the shutdowns on small businesses, which are the engine of our economy. It will be further assessed as the situation evolves,” it stated.
Disclosing other efforts of the company in support of the fight against the pandemic, MTN had said: “We are supporting government at federal and state levels with communication systems, analytical response management, and risk profiling.
“These tools will enhance the capacity and preparedness of each state to manage the outbreak proactively, enabling them to identify the vulnerable segments of the population who require social intervention during the lockdown.”