THE IMPACT OF MTN ADVERTISEMENT ON SUBSCRIBERS
1.1 Background of Study
The development of telecommunication in Nigeria began in 1886 when a cable connection was established between Lagos and the colonial office in London by 1893, government office in Lagos were provided with telephone service, which was later extended to Ilorin and Jebbu in the hinterland. A slow but steady process of development in the years that followed led to the gradual formation of the nucleus of a national telecommunication network.
In 1923, the first commercial trunk telephone service between Itu and Calabar was established. Between 1946 and 1952, a Three-Channel – Line Carrier system was commissioned between Lagos and Ibadan and was extended to Oshogbo, Kaduna, Kano, Benin, and Enugu; thus connecting the colonial office in London with Lagos and the commercial centre in the country with local authority offices. In 1960s the network system was expanded to meet growing needs of the fledgling commercial and industrial communication network system.
In the 1980s, the telecommunication arm of the department of Post and Telecommunication was merged with the Nigerian External Telecommunication (NET) and in 1985 the Nigerian Telecommunication Ltd (NITEL), a Limited Liability Company that administers both internal and external telecommunication services in Nigeria was formed.
Currently, NITEL offers the following services, telephony, telex and telex delivery services, telegraph and registered telegraphic addresses, payphones, and public coin telephones, transmission and reception of real-time TV for network services etc, Nigeria embraced digital Technology since the 1980 with the ratio of Digital Switches and Transmission System (Radio and Optic Fibre), into the network since the beginning of the 90s, mobile Telephone Services offered by NITEL. NITEL now has an X 25 and X 40 Switching facilities in its network.
Today, however, to a population of one hundred million (100m) the figure of more than half a million on telephone lines in the country means in effect, a very low telephone density ratio, though the country has the largest number of telephones in any one country in Africa.
MTN Entrance into Nigerian Telecommunication Sector
The MTN Group Limited (MTN Group) is a leading provider of communication services offering cellular network access and business solutions, and is listed in South-Africa on the Johannesburge Securities exchange (JSE) under the Industrial Telecommunication Sector launched in 1994, MTN Group is a Multinational Telecommunication provider with its core operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
MTN Nigeria began operations in Nigeria on May 16th, 2001. MTN Nigeria was the first GSM Network to make a call following the globally landed Nigerian GSM auction conducted by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
Therefore, the company launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt and since then it has spread their network to every State in Nigerian Federation (Uyo included).
1.2 Statement of Problem
In Nigeria today, consumers are faced with many competiting variables of telecommunication network to choose from. In case of GSM Service providers, we have Airtel, Globacomm, MTN, Starcomm, Zoom, NITEL, Etisalat etc.
Meanwhile, advertisements are no longer geared towards sensitizing the public about the usefulness of the product or products so advertised; it is now been used as a tool for propaganda and extortion of the public / consumers. MTN was, in 2009 summoned by the House of Representative in Nigeria to defend itself against claims that it is extorting the Nigerian populace.
Matter of factly, advertisement ensures or does the following; enhances sales, creates awareness about a new product, satisfies the consumers need for quality, educates consumes about how a product can be used, influences consumer’s choices etc.
Therefore, it is against this backdrop that the researcher therefore, intends to find out or answer the question: Has MTN advertisement impacted its subscribers in Uyo Metropolis?
1.3 Objective of the study
In order to be guarded toward achieving the aims of the research efforts, the researcher, hereby makes the following outlines as the objectives of this study:
i. To find out if the residents of Uyo Metropolis as exposed to MTN advertisement.
ii. To find out if MTN advertisement creates awareness about their services in Uyo Metropolis.
iii. To ascertain whether MTN advertisement generates or increases sales of their products and services in Uyo Metropolis.
iv. To find out whether customers are influenced by MTN advertisement.
v. To find out or ascertain whether MTN advertisement educates subscribers of Uyo Metropolis on the benefits of using their products and how they can use them.
vi. To find out whether MTN advertisement influences subscribers in Uyo Metropolis preference for their product over other telecommunication network.
Vi. To find out from the resident which Mobile service they would recommend for a close friend.
1.4 Research Questions
i. Are the respondents of Uyo Metropolis aware of MTN advertisement?
ii. Does MTN advertisement generate sales of their products and services among subscribers in Uyo Metropolis?
iii. Are subscribers in Uyo Metropolis influence by MTN advertisement?
iv. Does MTN advertisement educate subscribers on the benefits of their products and services and how to use them?
v. How has MTN advertisement impacted subscribers’ preference for their product and services over other telecommunication network in Uyo Metropolis?
vi. Which of the media enhances the impact of MTN advertisement on Uyo Metropolis?
vii. Which mobile Services would subscribers recommend for prospective customers?
1.5 Scope of Study
The study was conducted in Uyo local Government Area. Since the Local Government Area comprises of numerous villages made of two clan, its vastness does not provide specification for eligibility for the study, the researcher, therefore, restricted herself to the selected villages from two clan which are; Afaha Oku, and Ilot Oku Ubo offot, and their reactions toward MTN advertisement in Nigeria. Also this work is limited to television advertisement only.
1.6 Limitation of Study
This research effort was militated against by several factors. These factors combined to make the process more rigorous Herculean for the researcher. Some of the challenging factors are; dearth of materials at the researchers’ disposal made the effort more challenging. For instance, it was not easy retrieving information on the first advertisement of the MTN in Uyo Metropolis.
Another is the unwillingness of respondents to fill the questionnaire. This to an extent constituted an impediment to the collation and collection of data for the study.
Also, the researcher studied the behaviour that is rational. This too, posed a great deal of challenge to the researcher because often, the respondents do not express their habitual practices, and their preferences cannot be assessed correctly or accurately.
1.7 Significance of the Study
A research effort of this magnitude is expected to serve as a reference material to both students and researchers who may embark on a research project in this area in future. It will add to the existing stock of knowledge in the related area or subject of interest.
Also, the work will also be of great benefit to advertising agencies and advertisers, other GSM service providers, media organizations, and the general public’s at large.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Below are the operational definitions of term;
Impact: This refers to the effect that MTN has on the subscribers in Uyo Metropolis.
MTN: Mobile Telecommunication Network. MTN is one of the major wireless telephone operators in Nigeria.
Advertisement: It is an appeal that contains some aesthetic information concerning a product or service.
GSM: Global System of Mobile Communication. It was fully approved in Nigeria on 27th August, 2000.
Subscribers: These are the people in Uyo Metropolis who pay to MTN in order to receive their services
Uyo Metropolis Uyo Local Government is one of the 31 Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom State. Uyo occupies a position between 5.050 North (Latitude) and 80 East (Longitude). This is within the equatorial rainforest, which are tropical zones that harbor vegetable of green forage of trees, shrubs and oil palm trees. These geographical environments are very conducive for cash crops couples with flat lead terrain shaping towards the South-East between the months of December to February of every year.
According to Otobong (2007, p. 115). Uyo Local Government Area being the capital of Akwa Ibom State has a total landmass of 1,250,000 square kilometers with a population of three hundred and nine thousand, five hundred and seventy three people. It comprises of two clans viz; Ikono Ibom and Oku clan and shares common boundaries with Etinan, Ibesikpo. Itu, Uruan, Nsit Atai and Nsit Ibom Local Government Local Government Area.