By Chiedu Uche Okoye


The invention of mobile phones has revolutionized the telecommunication industry in Nigeria and shrunk the world to a global village. And Nigeria has got on the superhighway of modern telecommunication what with the network service providers- MTN, Airtel, and Glo- serving  the needs of millions of Nigerians. MTN, GLO, and Airtel are the network service providers in Nigeria. 

But in the Southeast of Nigeria, the complaints by users of MTN, GLO, and Airtel that they receive poor network services from the aforementioned network service providers have become deafening and irritating. So to ignore their complaints is to play the ostrich and pretend that all is well when the reverse is the case.

Before the advent of cell phones, we would use land phones to make trunk and international phonecalls. And that mode of communication had its major disadvantage, which is not the thrust or purpose of this article. The coming of the mobile phone coincided with President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ascension to the throne of power. And he played major and significant roles to ensure that Nigeria was not left behind regarding the revolution that took place in the area of telecommunication.

Today, millions of Nigerians possess cell phones and patronize such network providers as MTN, GLO, and Airtel to make phone calls and surf the internet. Without mobile phones and without the provision of network services by MTN, GLO, and Airtel, we cannot carry out online business transactions or e-commerce and interact with one another on Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter(X), TikTok, Instagram, and others. So today, our world has become a global village.

The existence of mobile phones and the provision of network services by network service providers have helped people(s) in different countries to reset their countries’ political situations. We still remember how the Egyptians, Tunisians, and Libyans were mobilized online to dislodge dictatorial governments in their respective countries. Were  network services not provided for them by the network service providers, they wouldn’t have achieved such great political feats.

And nowadays, as we are in the digital age, most business transactions and deals are sealed and done via phone calls and online. Gone are the days when one had to meet one’s customers in flesh and blood to do business transactions with them. With phone calls, we get connected to  people, who live in countries that are different from ours, and engage in business deals with them. And we make payments for services rendered to us by using banks” apps on our phones. The digitalization of commercial activities in Nigeria has increased Nigeria’s volume of trade, which has positive effects on our battered, but recovering economy.

But sadly, the users of MTN, GLO, and Airtel lines in the Southeast are dissatisfied with the quality of services, which they do receive from the above-named network service providers. Most of the users of MTN, GLO, and Airtel complain that those network service providers’ services are not up to par. This complaint of theirs should not be swept under the rug as the network service providers play critical and significant roles in those people’s facilitating of business transactions and convening of online meetings, which are related to their jobs.

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Recently, in the southeast, on certain days, a great majority of people could not make phone calls as their lines were stalled owing to the technical glitches, which emanated from their respective network service providers. Not only were phone calls between two persons made impossible by network problems, they could not access their Facebook and Whatsapp accounts to carry out activities that border on their jobs and social lives. Poor quality network services in the southeast, which hinder our interactions with one another and prevent us from carrying out commercial activities, have become a recurring decimal in the area, now.

The southeast of Nigeria, no doubt, has become a major player in the economic revival and recovery of Nigeria, what with Onitsha being the hub of commercial activities, and Nnewi and Aba having industrial clusters. The volume of trade that is done on a daily basis in the southeast is increasing with incredible rapidity. There is little doubt that Nigeria’s dream of achieving sustainable economic prosperity can be made possible with input from the southeast of Nigeria.

Again, the Igbo people of Southeast of Nigeria, who are victims of ethnic baiting and hatred, are relocating their businesses to the Southeast, which is their ethnic homeland. In the past, whenever religious crisis erupted anywhere outside the southeast, the shops of the Igbo people would be destroyed. And unlucky Igbo people had been needlessly killed in senseless religious riots that happened outside the southeast of Nigeria.

So although we are not witnessing the mass return of the Igbo people to the southeast, which is their ethnic homeland, they are, nevertheless, returning to the southeast with their businesses in trickles. Perhaps, they’ve started to pay heed to the late Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife’s political cum economic philosophy: The think home philosophy.

So as the Igbo people are returning to their ancestral homeland to resettle their business enterprises and as the Southeast is playing critical and indispensable roles in the economic recovery and growth of Nigeria, the network service providers- MTN, GLO, and Airtel- should up their game in the region. Their dispensing of poor quality network services to the people of the Southeast is an uncharitable and unacceptable act. And the Southeast people’s complaint of poor network service, which they often experience, is a bad commentary on the network service providers.

Against the background that efficient communication network lubricates relationships among people and facilitates their carrying out of commercial activities, the network service providers  should do the needful in the Southeast of Nigeria. The entrepreneurial spirit and drive of the Southeast people should not be sacrificed on the altar of laxity, indifference, and incompetence of the network service providers.

So this article is a wakeup call to MTN, GLO, and Airtel to improve the quality of their services in the southeast. The southeast is too important an area to be neglected or ignored by them. So I am urging them to do the right thing now because a stitch in time saves nine.

• Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State