Recipe For Disaster? NCA Contemplating Proposals From MTN And Others To Restrict Phone Calls Over The Internet


You would think that this is nothing more than a satirical story when you first heard it. But when official sources like Joy FM are reporting it, you better sit up and pay attention.

Some couple of weeks ago, some officials from MTN were lamenting that they were losing profits due to customers making phone calls through services like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber. This sounded like nothing more than noise to me.

But apparently, MTN is following through. They actually petitioned the National Communications Authority (NCA) to ban/restrict these services which allow customers to make internet calls. Interestingly enough, the NCA is actually considering this proposal. In a statement, the NCA says it will review the petition and acknowledged that these services provided by Skype and WhatsApp actually have some security implications.

Allow me to call bullshit on this.

Let’s just cut the crap and read between the lines. The telecom companies like MTN and others make money when customers buy credit and make international calls. Thankfully, Skype, Viber and WhatsApp have given customers options to make calls using data. By not using the telecom companies to make these calls, they lose out on revenue.

This is nothing more than the telecom companies wanting all the money they can get. It’s as simply as that. Customers will also look for the cheaper options. Skype, WhatsApp and Viber provide those cheaper options and big corporations like MTN don’t like that.

As far as security implications, all these services actually provide very strong security at their back ends. WhatsApp actually has end to end encryption enabled on it’s mobile apps. Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, has some strong backend security as well.

MTN’s argument that they’re losing revenue because of these services is like saying that they’re not getting $10 million while they’re getting $5 million. Basically, no one gives a damn about you losing out on revenue MTN. How about you give good service and stop getting fined billions of dollars by Nigeria for your incompetence.

So that’s my two cents. The NCA can review this petition all its wants. But if the end result is a restriction of these services, there will be hell to pay. The telecom companies are already providing bad and inadequate service to customers. And now they want to restrict what services we use when we use their network?

Oh boy! You’re asking for trouble.

You can read NCA’s statement on restriction of services like WhatsApp and Skype on Joy FM here

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