Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to lockdown the country in order to battle the spread of Covid-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus, the MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria, Telecommunications firms have provided their subscribers free SMS, as they comply with the sit at home order of the Federal Government.
The telecommunications took the decision after the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, appealed to them via his Twitter to offer their subscribers free data or airtime.
Keyamo made the appeal in order to ease the economic impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian workers, but instead, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria chose to offer their subscribers free SMS.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Airtel Nigeria said, “Airtel announces free SMS to all customers to connect with loved ones. Free SMS can be sent to all your friends and family across any network.”
On the other hand, MTN Nigeria said it customers can send free 10 SMS daily for 30 days.
But in a reaction to these, some Nigerians blasted these telecommunications companies, saying Nigerians need free Data and airtime not free SMS.
@Drmuzoic responded to MTN, stating, “We need data to work effectively from home and stay abreast of new updates online. Take your SMS and reduce the price of data.”
Another twitter user, @onyipomping said, “We don’t need free SMS. Give us free data. Stingy network” While supporting Onyipomping, @Ajayidoying stated, “We hardly send SMS, we want data. SMS to do what?”
Meanwhile, @KelvinAganbi tweeted, “In other news, you are giving all your customers #1,200. Please convert mine to data. Thank you.”
@official_dlaw seconded Aganbi’s tweet, “That’s 2gig data na based on their current price. How hard could it be,” he asked MTN Nigeria
Subscribers of Airtel Nigeria also lamented, with @obagomez1 stating, “Nice gesture, but in all honesty; 65% of your consumer base are more “internet/data” driven. I’d be glad to see a rolled out data price slash and higher lasting data volume even for 14days.”
The free offer also didn’t go down well with @duckieworld1 who tweeted, “When someone can send message on WhatsApp and other social media. You came up with SMS. You would have just said MMS make we know say na Stone Age we de. Well it is a matter of t.”
@illest_rukboi had no kind words for the red network, stating, “Thunder will keee u people and your SMS. Shebi una thin say na multilinks era na im we dey abi. Animals”