EFFECT OF TWITTER BAN ON TELECOMMUNICATION COMPANIES IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF MTN, GLO AND AIRTEL)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The telecommunications (telecom) market is a part of the information and communication technology industry. The market is primarily engaged in operating and providing access to facilities for the transmission of voice, data, text and video (Businesswire, 2016). Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems (ITU 2015). It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 97 per cent of the world population lived within reach of a mobile cellular signal and 93 per cent within reach of a 3G (or higher) network. In the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, over 95 per cent of the population is covered by a 3G or higher mobile broadband network. In the Arab States the figure stands at 91 per cent; the Commonwealth of Independent States, 88 per cent; and Africa, 79 per cent. Of the 85 countries that provided data on mobile phone ownership, 61 have a higher proportion of men with mobile phones than women (ITU, 2019).
Since the introduction of GSM to Nigeria, there has however been a significant improvement as total active subscriptions. According to the Nigeria Communication Commission (2020), telecoms data for Q4 2019 reflected that a total of 184,699,409 subscribers were active on voice as against 179,176,930 in Q3 2019 and 172,824,239 in Q4 2018. This represented 3.08% increase in voice subscriptions Quarter-on Quarter and 6.87% Year-on -Year. Similarly, a total of 126,078,999 subscribers were active on internet as against 123,163,027 in Q3 2019 and 112,065,740 in Q4 2018. This represented 2.37% growth in internet subscriptions Quarter on-Quarter and 12.50% Year -on -Year.
However, uncertainty met with this important sector of Nigeria when the Federal Government gave it official ban on Twitter. Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface or its mobile-device application software . Suffice to say that this social network can be assessed using mobile data provided by telecommunication companies hence it is no doubt that such ban will have an effect on the profitability of telecommunication sector in Nigeria. Therefore it is upon this premise that this study id set to examine the effect of twitter ban on telecommunication companies in Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
On 5 June 2021, the Nigerian government officially put an indefinite ban on Twitter restricting it from operating in Nigeria after the social media platform deleted tweets made by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari warning the south eastern people of Nigeria predominantly occupied by the Igbo people of a potential repeat of the 1967 Biafran Civil War ((CNN 2021).The Nigerian government claimed that the deletion of the President's tweets factored into their decision but it was ultimately based on "a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences".
Although the ban was condemned by Amnesty International, British and Canadian missions and the Swedish Embassy in Nigeria as well as domestic organizations like - the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the implication of this ban is likely to have a significant negative effect on the profitability of telecommunications companies in Nigeria. According to Social-Media-Poll-Report (2020), More than 120 million Nigerians have access to the internet which is made possible through mobile data usage and nearly 40 million of them have a Twitter account — 20% of the population. Thus banning of twitter in Nigeria invariably means that telecommunication companies will have a great deal of loss not just in profit but in customer engagement which will likely come with a decrease in data usage hence a hard time for the business. Therefore it is against the backdrop that this study is set to examine the effect of twitter ban on telecommuting companies in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of twitter ban on telecommunication companies in Nigeria using MTN and Airtel as case study. Specifically the study will
Ascertain the nature of twitter ban effect on the telecommunication industries of Nigeria.
Investigate the extent to which TELECOM product such as data were consumed by twitter users in Nigeria before the ban.
Examine if the revenue and profitability of Telecommunication industries in Nigeria will also affected by the recent twitter ban
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research question will guide the study
What is the nature of twitter ban effect on the telecommunication industries of Nigeria?
What is the extent to which TELECOM product such as data were consumed by twitter users in Nigeria before the ban?
Will the revenue and profitability of Telecommunication industries in Nigeria be affected by the recent twitter ban?
Do you think there is a significant negative effect of twitter ban on telecommunication industries in Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Since this study portrays the nature of twitter ban effect on the telecommunication industries and also the significant roles played by this sector under study, it is therefore pivotal to note that the findings and theoretical aspect of this work will be relevant to the major players in the TELCOM sector of Nigeria and even the Nigeria Government. More so study will also be significantly useful to students and researchers and other individuals who may have the interest to gather or carryout any study related to the topic under study.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study borders on the effect of twitter on telecommunication companies in Nigeria. The study is thus limited to MTN and Airtel telecommunication centres in Lagos State.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The limitations of this study includes:
Finance: Due to the economic difficulty that the people, including the researcher, was experiencing, the prospect of a greater sample size, which would have enabled the study to reach a larger region, has become impossible; thus, this work is limited to only Nigeria based MTN.
Time: It was not surprising that the researcher was limited by time frame as it posed a direct challenge to the effective coverage intended in the course of this report. It is the intention of the researcher to interview all the employees of the selected TELECOM company but because of numerous activities of the researcher which borders on both academics, work schedules and other social activities it became relatively impossible to explain the intention.
Attitude of respondents: The majority of workers fail to collect the questionnaires, and some who do collect pay urgent attention required in filling and returning it, and others did not return theirs at all. Others were less accommodating and may have provided untrustworthy information because they were afraid of being exposed, despite the researcher's promise that all information would be treated with the utmost secrecy and only for education purpose.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Telecommunication: This is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems.
Telecommunication Industry: The telecommunications industries within the sector of information and communication technology is made up of all telecommunications/telephone companies and internet service providers and plays the crucial role in the evolution of mobile communications and the information society.
Twitter: Twitter is an American micro-blogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.
Twitter Ban: this is the authoritative pause in the operation of twitter as mandated by the Federal government of Nigeria on June 5th 2021 until the owners of the social network meet the newly established requirement given to them by the government of Nigeria.
CNN (2021) Nigeria bans Twitter after company deletes President Buhari's tweet". . Retrieved 5 June 2021.