COVID-19: Airtel Nigeria bows to pressure, removes charges on SMS

Airtel Africa

Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria), on Tuesday succumbed to pressure from Nigerians as it announced the removal of charges for its short message service (SMS), for its subscribers, in the light of the current disruption triggered by coronavirus pandemic.

In a tweet on its verified Twitter handle, @AirtelNigeria, the telecom firm said: “Airtel announces free SMS to all customers to connect with loved ones.

“Free SMS can be sent to all your friends and families across any network.

“Please note a Fair Usage policy applies to prevent network congestion at this time when network stability is paramount to keeping all of us connected”

“Distancing does not mean disconnecting,” Airtel said.

COVID-19: Airtel bows to pressure, removes charges on SMS

Recall, Nigerians called on telecommunications companies in Nigeria to reduce tariffs for voice and data services on their networks due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sina Bilesanmi, national president of the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers (ATCIS) had urged the operators to be patriotic and not see the pandemic as an opportunity to make easy money. Bilesanmi, while calling for collaborations between subscribers and telecoms operators, further stressed that if the virus must be defeated, access to telecoms services must not only be available but also affordable.

Also lending his voice, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, urged telcos to ensure they further subsidy, relax calls, data for citizens in this critical time.

The Minister tweeted: “As earlier conveyed, as the Minister of @FMoCDENigeria in charge of Policy of the Telecom Sector as in NCA, 2003, Part 1, I “urge” @NgComCommission, @MTNNG, @GloNg, @AirtelNigeria, @9mobilengCare, etc to ensure they further subsidy/relax calls/data for citizens in this critical time,” Pantami said.