Some three months ago, dear friend, I noticed that my phone could show ‘No Service’ without any reason. Once you tried making a call, the phone reverted to the MTN network with reception bars and the call could then be made. After a while, the network would relapse into the ‘No Service’ mode again. I monitored the phone for over a week and realised that this happened only when I was at the office. It never happened when I was home or anywhere else.

I tried restarting the phone several times, re-setting the phone, ensuring that all updates from Apple had been installed, etc and yet the challenge remained same. After about a month, I noticed that the challenge had now extended to my residence though not as frequently as the office.

Having previously engaged MTN staff quite a number of times on various challenges without much resolution, I was not enthused about contacting them and thus ignored them this time around but only for a while. After a few weeks of experiencing this trouble, I was forced by circumstances to report the matter at their main office along the Cantonments Road (Oxford Street). The Customer Service staff were as ignorant about the possible cause, as myself. Eventually I opted to do a new sim request so that in case the sim was faulty, a new sim would deal with it but nothing was to change.

Then, another problem cropped up that got me really upset. I have this brother of mine who is not permanently resident in Ghana but who wishes to have his MTN line active for use anytime he is in town as well as mobile money operations among others. Anytime he travelled out, he would leave the number with me and pick it up once he returns.

This brother jetted out about a month ago with instructions to undertake some mobile money transactions for him. All the payments on to the account were successful. Yet when it was subsequently time to cash out the monies, the system would not allow same displaying a message, ‘You are not allowed to access MTN Mobile Money Service at this time. Please contact Customer Service’. Upon contacting them, I was told that the line had been blocked ostensibly because registration of the sim card had not been completed.

Here was someone who had walked into a Regional Office of MTN to buy a sim. He was requested for his ID to enable it to be registered and he had given them his passport. Upon successful registration, they took a picture of him as well and led him to the Mobile Money Section where he was taken through the MoMo registration as well. Having completed the process, he had been using his line and MoMo successfully.

My dear friend, assuming without admitting that there was something wrong with the registration process, was the best approach not to contact him by phone or e-mail and request him to submit the required documents? Why on earth did MTN choose to block the account as though they were dealing with some criminal or fraudulent account?

Now, having been notified that the account holder was currently engaged in business in Europe and had issued a Power of Attorney with a photocopy of his Passport page to enable me deal with the problem, MTN officials would still not budge. They insisted that the account holder himself be the one to have the problem dealt with. For several days, the MoMo account remained blocked and yet monies could be paid into it but not cashed out. After a number of back and forth with the account holder including a skype call that finally enabled them verify his face with his ID, they them agreed to attend to the blocked sim. My question again: Why will MTN block an account for a simple reason as proof of ID when all you could do was request for same? In any case, the lack of it was due to their negligence since it had been issued to them except that they had for whatever reason lost the ID.

Well, back to the challenge of reception, I have for weeks kept asking myself: If MTN cannot guarantee even one sustained bar of reception in Cantonments and Pokuase, why will they want me to keep me using their network? Considering that in 2016, MTN won the Customer Service award for the third time.

In June 2018, MTN Ghana again won several awards the 8th Ghana Information Technology and Telecoms Awards (GIITA) held in Accra. The awards night saw MTN receiving twelve awards with the climax being the induction into the GITTA Telecoms Hall of Fame. These included Customer Experience Company of the year, CSR Company of the Year, Data Service Provider of the year, Mobile Money Service of the year, Mobile Operator of the Year, and Telecoms Hall of Fame award among others.

My dear friend, just some two weeks ago at the 9th Marketing World Awards, MTN Ghana received seven prestigious awards: Best Company in Customer Care, Marketing Campaign of the Year – (“MTN MoMo at 10”), Telecom Brand of the Year, and Marketing Team of the Year. In addition, its Chief Marketing Officer (Mr. Noel Kojo-Ganson) won two personality awards at the event. He was declared one of West Africa’s top twenty Marketing and Communications Professionals and also the Marketing Industry Personality of the Year while its Customer Relations Executive, Mrs. Jemima Kotei Walsh was adjudged Customer Service Personality of the Year. Now if after winning all these accolades, all MTN can give Ghanaians is this poor level of its very basic telecom service, then I beg to ask, “On what basis were they adjudged to have been so excellent as to deserve of these several awards?

MTN ought to know that as industry leaders with 59.74% of the telecoms market, it certainly is expected that they would take their customers seriously and provide the kind of services that would justify all the several awards that they keep accumulating into the trophy gallery.

Ghanaians certainly deserve better than this!