Today I’m discussing:
- Situation report on SIM registration
- Increased Uber fare in Lagos
- After WhatsApp’s May 15 deadline
Has SIM registration gotten better?
Who heaved a sigh of relief when the Nigerian Federal Government removed the ban on SIM sales and registration on April 15, 2021? I did. And I’m sure Mobile Telecom Operators (MTOs), businesses, and every other affected Nigerian did too. Who wouldn’t? The directive stalled a major activity in the telecommunication industry for four months.
The country didn’t even remember to commemorate two decades of welcoming mobile telephony. Keep up: Inside 2 decades of mobile telecommunications in Nigeria
Anyway, a recent discovery has shown that lifting the ban didn’t make SIM registration easier. If you recall, the government’s caveat for discontinuing the ban was that MTOs would be mandated to build a framework that can’t be compromised for the SIM registration process going forward.
Implication: This means the exclusion of third-party involvement. The Nigerian Communications Communications (NCC) may have to approve any registration centre the MTO decides to use. I can’t say what NCC is looking out for, but it appears several centres do not meet the criteria.
What’s the current situation of things? Read this Ogheneruemu’s piece about it.
Uber increases fare
In a recent development, Uber users in Lagos should be prepared to start paying more for their rides beginning today, May 11. Information reaching drivers shows that fares would increase by about 13%, which could get higher at certain times of the day, probably during peak periods.
Some users complained of fare spikes during the strike action that Uber and Bolt drivers embarked on three weeks ago to push home their demands for a fare review. I’ll take this as Uber’s response to the demands. I reason that the ride-hailing company may also be considering toning down on ride discounts. Maybe we should also expect the same from Bolt since they operate similar models.
Should we be concerned that Uber’s reaction to drivers’ requests is to increase fares instead of reducing the percentage commission deducted from each fare? If the initial worry was, “Uber doesn’t think about the drivers,” it has probably changed to “Uber doesn’t think about the riders.”
Similarly, Uber has also increased fares for riders in Egypt. And in the US, it allows drivers to see the fare after accepting a trip. So, there are increasing cases of drivers canceling trips once they are not satisfied with the displayed fare.
Customers seem to be taking this in their stride. I noticed only mild outrage on Twitter, with some citing the economic situation as the reason why fares shouldn’t be increased.
WhatsApp post-May 15
It’s getting closer to WhatsApp’s ultimatum for accepting its updated policy. Users who fail to accept it will have their accounts deactivated. The deadline has been moved once to clarify the terms and give every user ample time to either leave the platform or accept the policy.
What changed? The Facebook-owned company has changed the initial terms that had a threatening undertone. They now subtly state that a user’s account will be as inoperable as a deactivated one.
Be the judge: As a reminder to accept the terms, WhatsApp will restrict some key features on users’ accounts on May 15. For a short time, they will still be able to receive calls and view notifications but won’t be able to chat or access their chat list. We are not sure about what would happen after the “short time” elapses.
Still controversial: WhatsApp has taken different steps to set users’ minds at peace about the safety of their data. But using a customised status to communicate once again sets alarm bells ringing as people wonder if Facebook is about to bring ads to WhatsApp.
What are the chances that there would be an exodus to competing platforms because of this?
This is a good time to read this again: Africa’s dependence on Facebook companies and the WhatsApp conundrum
And this: With privacy fears, yet numerous benefits, WhatsApp users face the Hedgehog’s Dilemma
In case you missed it
- Meet the instructors at Techpoint Startup School (Port Harcourt edition).
- Clubhouse officially launches Android app. Read.
- Africa’s digital economy isn’t compatible with internet shutdowns. Read.
Have a great day!
Oluwanifemi Kolawole for Techpoint Africa.