Worried that recharge card vendors have unilaterally increased the prices of all denominations of MTN recharge cards, without a corresponding increase in the value of the cards, the management of MTN has said it has not effected any retail price increase in any of the recharge card denominations.
In Lagos, most recharge card vendors have added between N10 and N50 to every denomination of MTN recharge card they sell. For instance, a N100 MTN recharge card is now sold for N110, while the N200 denomination is now sold for N210. The N400 card is sold for N420, while the N750 and N1,500 recharge cards now sell for N780 and N1,550 respectively.
The arbitrary increase is applicable to only MTN recharge cards in most parts of Lagos. However, some vendors in Lagos who spoke to THISDAY, explained that MTN cards were scarce and dealers have now capitalised on the scarcity to increase their retail prices.
“MTN cards are scarce in Lagos and dealers are selling to us at increased prices, so we too have to add N10 or more to each denomination to recoup our money,” a retail vendor, Emeka Ogor, told THISDAY.
But MTN has stated that the face value of all its recharge card denominations remain the same. Corporate Services Executive, MTN, Mr. Wale Goodluck, said: “We have not effected a price increase and the retail price of the various denominations of our recharge cards and recharge vouchers remain the same.
“Our recharge vouchers come in the following denominations: N1,500, N750, N400, N200 and N100, and must be sold at the face value.”
Disturbed by the new development which started last week, Goodluck said: “Any such hike is contrary to MTN’s wishes or knowledge. MTN has a well-established distribution structure and all our authorised partners within this structure are obliged to sell recharge cards at their face value.
“Any variance from the authorised face value of recharge cards is without MTN’s knowledge or authority.”
MTN’s 55 million customers can purchase airtime via recharge cards or recharge vouchers as well as through a virtual top-up. The airtime recharge options are generally distributed via a very extensive trade and distribution network which has over the years successfully enhanced accessibility to airtime and customer convenience, he said.
Goodluck assured customers that the company was working assiduously to arrest the situation and urged its customers in the affected areas to explore other options of purchasing their airtime, such as the MTN Virtual Top Up (VTU) or MTN Auto-Top Up.
In a related development, vendors in Asaba, Delta State, have increased prices of recharge cards above their face value for all denominations of cards across all networks.
Advancing reasons for the increase in Asaba, some of the vendors said recharge cards for all the networks suddenly became scarce in January this year, and that the dealers decided to increase the price of their old stock and sell to retail vendors at higher prices.
The retail vendors in turn, added a N10 margin on all denominations of recharge cards of all network operators in Asaba.