Is MTN the most hated company in South Sudan?

With the rate in change for its mobile packages, MTN South Sudan is once again in the consumers’ sights. Since the launch of its latest offers, the telecom operator has been the target of recurring controversy.

Nasty and rude Facebook comments and tweets continue to dominate most information including promotions shared by MTN South Sudan on their social media platforms.

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To understand the grumbling that is currently upsetting MTN South Sudan, we have to go back to October 2020

Late last year, MTN South Sudan announced that it would be adjusting its tariff rates in three phases on 15th November 2020, 15th January 2021 and 15th February 2021. They say it was an exchange rate adjustment of the United States Dollars to the local currency (South Sudanese Pounds) with approval from the National Communications Authority

Surprisingly, MTN South Sudan also increased their tariffs in late March this year. The National Communications Authority told the media they were not made aware of the latest changes.

In response, MTN claims the last adjustment was not done on 15th February as indicated adding that the rate adjustment was not a tariff increase but an exchange rate adjustment of the United States Dollars to South Sudanese Pounds.

“The rates increment was due to economic constraints (in reference with the economic standards) the country is facing currently, but we hope all will be fine soon,” reads a reply from MTN South Sudan.

MTN Customers decry new exorbitant internet tariffs, amid poor quality services

A user says, “Apart from fighting unknown gunmen, the government must fight the ‘known’ airtime robbers, mobile data looters and poor mobile network operators. We must fight those rebelling within the system. Mobile networks like MTN South Sudan are a silent rebellion waging war against the government and its citizens through exorbitant charges and poor connectivity.”

“They are the worst black market vendors. I think the ministry of telecommunications (NCA) is part of this fraudulent deal since they don’t give a fuck about this,” adds a frustrated MTN user.

Several MTN South Sudan users continue to reiterate calls for improvement in the services of MTN South Sudan amid comparative advantages of monopoly and a free-market economy.

“More for less”

While it assures that this “price war” is not beneficial for either operators or consumers, MTN South Sudan refuses to talk about a price increase.

“We have completely revised our range; it makes no sense to compare the price of a previous offer to that of a new one because the content is no longer the same. We have adapted our content to the needs of users with, for example, offers that provide more internet access at night (Midnight Bundles), combined bundles (MTN Wala), Free SMS and Facebook Free. If you look closely today, customers get more for less,” says one of the MTN group’s executives.

Still, consumer dissatisfaction has made its way to the government. The National Communications Authority Boss said in March “The change in rates was a surprise, we expected a further reduction and an increase in quality,” says Napoleon Adok who admits that the changes were perceived as an increase by the authorities.

“How can MTN South Sudan justify an umpteenth increase at a time when, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the purchasing power of South Sudanese is being undermined by the economic crisis,” an activist (name withheld), who is pushing for MTN South Sudan reform said.

“MTN South Sudan is a concessionary company of the public telecommunications service,” he added.

“So how can we understand that, at a time when the pandemic is supposed to encourage social distancing, and therefore communication and distance working, MTN South Sudan is raising its prices? This is against the public interest. It does not have the consideration for its customers to apply rates commensurate with their purchasing power,” he adds

South African-based multinational mobile telecoms Company

Despite its line of defence, according to which MTN South Sudan is committed to “making telephone and internet communications accessible to all” with hashtags #GrowingTogether, the operator is also the victim of a long-standing South Sudanese struggle against economic imperialism and regularly comes under fire from nationalists.

MTN is a South African-based multinational that makes most of its profits in Africa. Launched in 1994, the MTN Group Limited (MTN Group) is a multinational telecommunications group, with its core operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Faced with the accusations, MTN South Sudan retorted by currently running an advertisement for “A BIG REVEAL” that it says will come this week.

So far, MTN South Sudan’s business is not being hindered. According to available statistics, MTN South Sudan’s Market share was on the rise with 60.64% in 2019, while that of its main competitor Zain South Sudan is slightly down.

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