Wednesday, September 03, 2008

MTN’s community phone debuts

MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, last weekend unveiled its community phone project in the northern city of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Head of Service in the state, Mr. Ali Gamba who represented the governor, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff performed the unveiling to formally flag-off the community phone project.

He applauded MTN for bringing telecommunications services closer to the people at the grassroots, especially in the state.

“The people of Maiduguri will be eternally grateful to MTN for this initiative. As far as Borno State is concerned, MTN has always been the number one network, and now, this community based telephone service, coming again from MTN; thus giving the people unlimited access to talk for almost free of charge, MTN we thank you,” Sheriff said.

Throwing more light on the initiative, MTN Xtra connect Brand Manager, Mrs. Saidat Lawal Mohammed, said that for MTN, the people in the rural communities should not be shout out from the rest of the world.

“They need to be connected to their kit and kin all over the world; they need to do business with people and the people in turn needed to do business with the rest of the world knowing that the world has now become a global village,” she said.

Underscoring the fact that the community phone gives the telco an opportunity to reach out to some of its customers in the rural areas who have a need for communication and the opportunities it brings to improve all aspects of their lives whether personal or business.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer, Equatel, a partner to MTN Nigeria on the project, Mr. Henry Onaga, said that the initiative is borne out of extensive research embarked upon by his firm in conjunction with the European and American based firms.

“In 2002, we embarked on extensive research on how we can make people in rural communities talk more for less, the launch we are witnessing here today is a product of this research, the first of its kind anywhere on the continent of Africa,” he asserted.

The procedure for operating a community phone involves booths located at designated centers.

“What a customer needs to do is to buy a specially made SIM card which is very affordable, insert the SIM and start to make his or her call. The tariff comes with flat rate of N22 Naira per minute to any network and N37 per second to any network. The recharge cards come in N100 and N200 denominations. On the community phone, a customer can enjoy the same service that is obtainable from a GSM handset. One can send an SMS, make and receive calls,” he explained.

Other dignitaries present at the occasion included the permanent secretary in the office of the Head of Service, Alhaji Abba Kaka Jato, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, Managing Director, New Millennium Resources Limited, Maiduguri and the General Manager, Maiduguri International Hotel, Barrister Hadizatu Mustapha.


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