‘This is rash and unnecessary…’

Subscibers in Edo

Subscibers in Edo

Customers in Edo groan over Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card deactivation

TELECOMMUNICATION subscribers in Benin have lamented the plight they are compelled to face by the MTN Network provider in a bid to get their Mobile Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards registered in the ongoing subscribers registration exercise.

Some subscribers waiting in endless queues at MTN office in the state capital have been robbed of their personal belongings, including mobile phones and cash sum.

They are also groaning over the hassles they are being made to face daily at the Benin City office, noting that the difficulty experienced at the offices have forced many subscribers to “switch” or “port” to other network providers and still retain their previous mobile numbers.

Lamenting his ordeal while at the MTN Akpakpava Office to register his SIM after deactivation by the service provider, a member of the Nigerian legion and retired military officer, Capt. Peter Eguavoen, described the deactivation action by MTN, without adequate publicity in both the electronic and print media, as “rash and unnecessary.”

He noted that more worrisome is that shortly after he received a text message from the network provider to notify him of his deactivation, his line was disconnected without enough time for him to go about the registration, expressing concern that the manner and way subscribers were being deactivated has forced him and many others to switch to other network service providers immediately and still maintained their previous mobile numbers at no extra cost in a stress- free process.

When The Guardian visited the MTN office on Akpakpava Road in the city centre, hundreds of subscribers were seen on a very long queue under the scorching sun and other times, even in the rain, obviously trying to get their SIM cards registered after being deactivated by the service provider.

Eguavoen, 71, while narrating his ordeal, said he had been on the queue for several hours to get his SIM registered and could not keep waiting endlessly, hence he decided to switch to another network to avoid the hassle and stress associated with getting registered at the MTN Benin office.

He said the registration could be best described as “poor” owing to the lack of awareness and publicity on the part of the subscribers and the service providers as well as shortage of manpower to address the large number of subscribers, who churn out daily at the MTN offices in the state capital for their SIM registration.

“When I visited the MTN office on high-brow Akpakapava Road in the heart of the city, the crowd was too much. We were over 500 persons waiting under only one canopy provided by MTN to be registered. Seeing the crowd, I earlier thought it was an election centre, political gathering or campaign office. As I joined the queue, apart from the crowded office, there were pickpockets around doing their criminal business and some miscreants popularly called area boys. ”

“They were arrested for stealing phones and wallets containing money and valuables of unsuspecting subscribers. As a retired military officer, I held my pockets to avoid losing my personal belongings because of the crowd. Even after spending several hours on the queue, I was still unable to register as the number given to me was 462 and the rain was heavy. With my age, I couldn’t continue to wait in the rain as the only canopy provided for subscribers to shelter about 50 persons could not accommodate over 500 waiting for our their turns to be registered.”

“This is rash action by MTN to block the lines of busy Nigerians without adequate notice and publicity. Following the hassles in getting my MTN line registered, I angrily moved to another network and still had my same old number in use. This is a loss to MTN as other networks are benefiting from their poor planning before going on deactivation,” he said.

He appealed to MTN to provide adequate security personnel to subscribers at their various offices nationwide, to help address and check the actions of miscreants.

He called for an extension of the date of registration to ease the unnecessary rush and loss of subscribers by MTN to other networks.

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