MTC Cancels N$2 Data ‘Mandatory Promotion’

In a surprise move, MTC decided to suspend the controversial ‘N$2 for 10MB per day promotion’ yesterday midnight, barely a month after it was introduced. MTC also promised to refund customers who were on the campaign list by crediting their balances.

MTC came under flak from the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), which agreed with aggrieved customers who complained that MTC is being unfair with its ‘promotional’ pricing of N$2 for 10 MB bundles per day. Not only are the charges mandatory for customers but they also included customers who otherwise did not need the service, such those who use MTC for fleet-tracking management.

CRAN has found MTC in violation of several regulatory requirements in the promotion of data bundle costs. CRAN did also lambast MTC for what is termed a ‘mandatory promotion’, because all MTC subscribers were not given an option but “were automatically added as participants to the promotion”, with customers mandated to notify MTC if they do not wish to participate, instead of customers willingly subscribing to the MTC promotion.

MTC’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer, Tim Ekandjo, was, however, adamant yesterday that MTC did nothing wrong as the “majority of customers” appreciated the campaign because they did not notify MTC to be removed from the promotion. “We have observed that the majority of our customers have voluntarily remained on the promotion, meaning they have not opted out,” he said adding that MTC would engage the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) to reintroduce the service.

“Our philosophy was not to make a quick buck,” Ekandjo said, adding that they have seen a significant increase of customers using more data applications than before and many were complaining of high fees as they would “nasty surprises” on data charges which depleted their airtime.

Making comparisons between the periods before and after the campaign, he said that MTC would make a profit of around N$145 000 on a typical day during the campaign as opposed to about N$172 000 they used to make before the campaign.

This translated to N$2.5 million that MTC made since during the campaign, according to Ekandjo. “We lost money in the best interest of accommodating customers,” he said.

Ekandjo maintained that MTC believes that there has been sufficient compliance with the relevant provisions of the Communications Act before they introduced the promotion on December 14.

He questioned why it took the regulator a month after the campaign was in full swing to come up with the aertorial that was placed in the newspapers about its stand on the matter.

He, however, dismissed CRAN’s position that MTC acted out of line, as it did not inform of the promotion required by law, saying that in terms of Section 63 of the Communications Act, operators are allowed to do campaigns of not more than three months, where it is not necessary to seek approval.

It is not the first time that MTC has come under fire. Previously the mobile telecommunications provider was forced to refund customers and change its aertising messages in the ‘Aweh-Aweh’ campaign.

Source : New Era