ADVERTISING AS A STRATEGIC INSTRUMENT IN THE MARKETING OF MTN’S COMMUNICATION SERVICES.

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

The world has become a global village as propounded by Marshal Maduban with tele-communications being a key player” (www.Nigeriabusinessinfo.com (http://www.nigeriabusinessinfo.com/)), and (Okwunna, ed. 2002:225). A major breakthrough is the Wireless Global System for Mobile Communications (MTN). MTN started in Nigeria in 1886, although in a faulty foundation because the colonial administration then was und in promoting administrative functions than the socio-economic development of the country. The sector was grossly underdeveloped before it was deregulated under the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida in 1992 with the establishment of a regulatory body, the Nigeria communications commission (NCC).

The total number of telephones lines at independence in 1960 was only 18,724 for a population estimated at about 40 million, meaning a teledensity of 0.5 Telephone per 1000 people. Between 1960 and 1985, the MTNs sector consisted of the department of post and MTN (NET) limited in charge of the external MTNs services. The installed switching capacity at the end of 1985 was about 200,000 lines as against the target of 460,000. Telephone penetration remained poor equalizing telephone line to 100 inhabitants recommended by International MTNs Union (ITU) for developing countries. In January 1985, the Post and MTNs was split into postal and MTN Department Division then later was merged with NET to form Nigeria MTN Limited (NITEL), with the motive to honomonise the planning and co-ordination of the internal and external MTN services. NITEL had a monopoly on the sector, and was synonymous with epileptic services and bad management. By the beginning of 1999, there were roughly 500,000 lines available for a population of around 120 million Nigerians. According of Sylvester Ebhodaghe in Guardian July 16, 2002, before Zain (formerly Econcet /Vmobile) and MTN arrived on the scene, there were less half a million phone lines to about 120 million Nigerians.

In other words, the overwhelming majority of Nigerians were phone- starred” from May 2000, the President Olusegun Obasanjo. S. administration swung to gear to make a complete deregulation a reality by setting in motion the privatization of NITEL. This has further led to expansion in connectivity through private investment and entry of new private operators, hence, there is improved service quality, expansion in rural access and more aordable taris, due to competition Sylvester Ebhedaghe in Guardian July 23 2001 says that “before introduction of MTN, despite NITEL being the only service provider that had touched dierent parts of the country, some state headquarters could not boast of NITEL facilities penetration. In order to inadequalise the inadequacies speedily for Nigerians to participate in the on-going global digital revolution, the technology of wireless had to be adopted. On 9 February 2002, one national operator and two private companies MTN and Zain were granted license by NCC to operate a digital mobile MTN Network in Nigeria .

The license fee was US $200 million. They first launched their services in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, one year aer the introduction of MTN, over one million lines were provided. Also, on August 12, 2002, NCC granted another license for second national operator (SNO) to Globacom at US 200 million. The motive is to create an alternative network to the government owned NITEL because of its poor service. The Act granted more powers to the NCC thereby reducing the role of the minister for communication to policy making. The Act grants an almost absolute independence to NCC in making industry regulations. However, as at now over 5.5million Nigeria have assess to MTN phones. There are now more mobile phone subscribers than fixed lines users.

At present, a wide range of MTN services are provided in the country telephony, telex, cellular mobile, radio trunking services, maritime mobile services, voice cast press receipt, data communications, shipshere, gentex (extension of telex terminal to rural areas), value added services and e cetera. “MTN, arrived Enugu State in 2003, first MTN on 28 October, and Zain which was later introduced in February 2004,” as observed by Charles Emus, MTN Marketing distributor in Onitsha. Also Mr. Vincent Enafi, the credit controller /payphone manager of NITEL in Enugu State, in his own contribution, claims that “there were 200 lines available for use in Enugu State before MTN was introduced in the place. Also, that the equipment used was analog cross point 24 (Cp)” Enugu State has greatly absorbed mobile communication exchange even in less than one than one year its introduction. A big business to say, it has become part and parcel of the people, and has led to a quicker development and civilization. The first two establishment networks MTN and Zain are in Kin competition, therefore, each service provider through advertising trics to create acceptance for their product by constantly establishing their brand in the mind’s eye of audience.

ADVERTISING AS A STRATEGIC INSTRUMENT IN THE MARKETING OF MTN’S COMMUNICATION SERVICES.