Cellular Networks now Lottery Companies, A Case of Misplaced Priorities

Cynicism is not a part of me as I always allow room, give issues the benefit of the doubt, before forming a perception.

One of the latest trends by cellular operators in Nigeria is offer lottery-like offers for subscribers, and also trying to win new subscribers to their network. There is nothing wrong with offering promos here-and-there, from time to time – but when a cellular network makes a pre-occupation out of offering millions of Naira, then any discerning individual would know that something is wrong.

Ever since Glo Mobile got into the arena of GSM telephony in Nigeria, it has been one big promo after the other. Houses, cars, phones have been on offer. The other big players MTN Nigeria & Vmobile not wanting to be left-out, have since joined the bandwagon.

I opened the website of MTN Nigeria, before beginning to write this blog post, and this is the text on the homepage.

“N10 million is just a click away! Its bigger! Its richer! Its better! – A chance to win N10 million in the world’s biggest TV game show – Brought to you by MTN.”

What about Globacom’s homepage? Not much different.

“Winners are emerging… In the N.5b worth of prizes in 180 days promo. Click here to see winners!!!”

Vmobile? There was an un-clickable image reading “Who wants to be a millionare?”

A GSM ezine author, recently wrote about MTN’s promotion of its game shows in Kano:


With what I saw in Kano, I believe that MTN is aiming a
gun at its foot and is about to pull the trigger.

Here are my reasons:

>> There is no mention in those billboards that there is
a N200 charge for the SMS (which is included in the
English billboards in cosmopolitan Abuja)

>> There is no mention that the WWTBAM Game show is a
game played ONLY ENGLISH

>> There is no mention that the Game is elitist and
requires at least a Secondary School education to go
beyond the first few questions

>> There is no mention that you will be required to
travel to Lagos to participate.

There is no harm in cellular networks sponsoring sport events, humanitarian efforts or competitions that require brain work. No.

I believe they can do better by providing better services for their subscribers, rather than ‘burning’ hundreds of millions of Naira on game shows that are lottery schemes in every sense of the word.

NB: I did my first publication, at TeleRead, recently – Mobile phones: A way to spread e-books around in Africa

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. Dave,

    It is unfortunate that rather than invest in larger capacity and better services, our GSM operators are playing to the gallery.

    I don’t want to win N1m; I simply want a GPRS or 3G connection that is dependable and cost-effective. Or SMS at a good price, and that gets delivered. Or voice calls that don’t cost me the world. With that, I can get to work and make as many millions as I want over time.

    These guys should stop encouraging laziness and give us services that will inspire, encourage and promote work and business. That would really be something to shout about.

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