Today’s Nigerian Telecom consumer is inundated with numerous Tariff plans and promotions from the different Operators such that it becomes a task deciding on which offer best suits him/ her. Phrases like recharge “N100 and get N5000” or buy “1GB plan and get 4GB free” has become a mantra. It is common knowledge that the Telecom Companies are ultimately in business to make money. To that extent a consumer must consider if these plans and freebies offer the best value for money.

As a consumer, before you decide on a tariff plan to purchase, whether as a new subscriber or as an existing customer migrating to a new plan, here are some factors you should consider:

  • Your Needs– Telecom Companies design products targeted at different market segments for instance SMES, Corporate Organization, Business User, Individuals, Students, and Teenagers etc. A business owner may be better off getting a post- paid line while a student who decides on a post-paid line will probably be making a wrong choice.

 

  • What is your behavior as a consumer? – To determine which of the Network providers, offer the best tariff plan that is compatible with your budget and Lifestyle you may first need to determine the following:

 

  1. Are your communication needs more voice centered? If you tend to make more voice calls then you need to subscribe to a voice friendly tariff plan. I.e. A bundle plan of N500 that gives N400 worth of voice calls and N100 data.
  2. Are your communication needs more internet based? Do you stream videos or engage more on social media? Then you need a plan that is more data friendly. I.e. A bundle plan of N500 that offers N400 worth of data and N100 worth of voice calls.
  • What is your average monthly data usage? (*** there is a data usage section on smart phones that stores history of your mobile data use according to absorption by each apps installed on the phone***)

 

  • Network Availability/ Coverage: This goes without saying, if a network provider does not have coverage in your home or work place that may not be the suitable provider for you. Or if you purchased a 1GB data plan with additional 10 GB free and that provider does not have data coverage around your home you may not have made the right choice as it will be impossible to utilize the data allowance. Additionally a provider offers attractive 4G data bundle and you are a subscriber based in Enugu state where there is no 4G coverage, that product is not right for you.

 

  • Costing/ Pricing Structure – This is the big one. As a consumer you must ask your provider the following basic questions that will ensure if you are getting the best value for your money:

 

  1. How much will I be charged per minute or per second for a voice call? i.e. what is the burn rate/ depletion rate/ call rate for all bonuses you receive on that plan. For instance a subscriber on a plan that is charged N9 per minute and decides to migrate to a promotional offer that gives N500 for a N100 recharge but will now be charged N45 per minute; at the old rate of N9 that subscriber, for a N100 recharge would make an 11Mins call while at the new rate N45 for N100 recharge that give a total of N500 would make the same 11mins call. Are you really getting any benefit?

 

  1. What is the validity of the bonuses I am offered? It is imperative to know how long you have those bonuses for, especially for data services. Some could be for just 24 hours, 7 days or longer or shorter. It is important to know before deciding to spend your money on that plan.

 

  • What exactly am I getting in this offer? What proportion is for voice or data? What can I use the bonus for? Can I use the bonus to purchase a data bundle? It is important for a consumer to clearly understand this. For example “buy N100 and get N5000” of that N5000, N2000 could be for same network calls N2000 for all Networks N1000 for pay as you go data.

 

  1. What is the price per Megabyte (MB)? This question applies where the plan includes pay-as-you-go data, for instance if a subscriber is offered N1000 at 5kobo per kbps or N50/MB the subscriber will only have 20mb for that N1000 while that same subscriber could purchase a 1000mb plan for N1000

 

  • Device Compatibility: Subscribers also need to have devices compatible with the telephony services they require. I.e. A subscriber intending to enjoy 4G mobile services, should have a 4G- enabled device. Also do not purchase a smartphone plan if you do not have a smart phone.

Finally, it is your right as a subscriber / consumer to know exactly what you are paying for. Therefore ask as much questions as you want and with this you can be sure you are making the right decision!

 

Article Submitted by:

Policy Competition and Economic Analysis

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)