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  • Updated: February 17, 2023

MTN Service Collapse: When Compensation Is Better Than Apologies

 MTN Service Collapse: When Compensation Is Better Than Apol

In moments between Tuesday and Wednesday, MTN subscribers experienced embarrassing and frustrating outages with business impacts that cannot be quantified.

However, following the several hours of service outage on MTN networks, which made calls and Internet surfing impossible on Tuesday, MTN subscribers are requesting adequate compensation beyond the rhetorics of apologies.

MTN, on its part, apologized through a notice to the over 80 million subscribers on the network for the service disruptions.

“Today, of all days, you couldn’t count on us to keep you seamlessly connected with the people, places, business, and things that matter to you. 

“Words cannot express how sorry we are for the disruption we caused.

"The issue has been resolved and services restored. 

“You matter to us and we will never stop showing you how much", the company said.

Notwithstanding the apology, subscribers are insisting on compensation. 

A customer, @_obi_emmanuel wrote: “You guys ruined my valentine. Apology not accepted.

"I think we, as customers deserve, proper compensation for the damages caused by you guys on Valentine’s day.”

Another MTN network user, Benjamin Bemgba Elijah, said the service disruption almost cost his company some important opportunities.

“You guys need to compensate us as soon as possible.

"My office uses MTN for her Internet services.

"We nearly missed out on important emails if not for a few colleagues who had personal alternative networks.

"So, person no fit get only MTN line like this? You must have an alternative data Network.”

It was, however, a bad experience for Refuge Aniekwe@itz_refuge, who claimed to have lost a contract. 

“I am really serious about this, you guys made me lose a contract because of time.

"Moreover, I am owed some data I purchased three times and got debited for it.

"I asked a question earlier, when last were you sued? It will be like a film in your eyes.”

Indeed, the disruption prevented many customers of the company from making and receiving calls, even as data usage was also impossible for several hours. 

The telecommunications firm, which is the largest operator in the country, had earlier on the day posted a message on Twitter, where it said it was facing a technical issue and promised to fix the problem soon.

“Dear customers due to an unexpected technical issue, some customers have difficulty using our services this time.

"Work is ongoing to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

"We regret all inconveniences this may cause,” MTN wrote.


The mantra, "Once beaten twice shy" makes a lot of sense in the matter of network outages with MTN subscribers at the receiving end. 

This is not the first experience of MTN (and indeed other telcos in Nigeria) services failing at a crucial moment only for them to show up later with hackneyed apology statements.

Do apologies restore lost contracts? Can apologies redeem monies lost at instances of network failure when digital transactions are in the process of closing and posting to databases for reconciliation?

In many instances, there are call dropping and data failures for which subscribers are made to pay for unused services.

Clearly, the NCC is not doing enough to capture all of these scenarios in the service level agreements (SLAs) with telcos as signatories.

It is only in Nigeria, perhaps that telcos make light of the failed quality of service (QoS) and SLA parameters and get away with such without paying huge damages to subscribers having proof of losses.

Again, this can only be the failure of state regulators (e.g., the NCC) to reign in on defaulting telcos.

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