Promotional Mix and Customer Patronage: A Study of Telecom Subscribers in Lagos and Ogun States, Nigeria



The world has become a global village
with telecommunication being an
indispensable tool in the entire process
of globalization. In this present world, a
modern telecommunication
infrastructural development is not only
essential for domestic economic growth,
but also a prerequisite for participation
in the increasingly competitive world
market and for attracting new
investments. However, it is not in
dispute that telecommunication and
information technology play essential
roles in this process. This is obviously
why development in this vital sector
over the years has been very
phenomenal all over the world.
Fortunately, Nigeria has not been left
out of this race of rapid development in
the telecommunication industry (Ajisola
& Awodun, 2014).
Mobile telecommunication has
transformed the way in which people
communicate and disseminate
information and ideas, especially in
developing countries. In Nigeria, the
full deregulation of the
telecommunication industry in Nigeria
paved way for private sector
participation in the provision of mobile
telecommunication services to citizens
of the Nigeria. This led to the licensing
of global system for mobile (GSM)
communication operations in 2001. Due
to the upsurge and speed in the growth
of subscribers of the telecommunication
industry in Nigeria, the GSM market
has given room for intense rivalry
among telecom operators (Hashim,
According to Adeleke and Aminu
(2012), GSM revolution commenced in
Nigeria in August 2001, when mobile
telecom operators such as Econet (now
Airtel), Mtel, and MTN were given
license by Nigerian Communications
Commission (NCC) to provide
telecommunication services to Nigerian
citizens. Other telecom service
providers such as Globacom and
Etisalat were later licensed to operate.
The operations of these telecom service
providers have continued to transform
the state of information and
communication technology in Nigeria.
The astronomical growth in the
subscriber base of the GSM operators
has led to intense competition in the
mobile telecommunications market in
Nigeria. This competition is exacerbated
by the lower switching costs among the
subscribers of the various networks
which manifest in the frequency with
which the subscribers freely enter and
leave the networks.
The deployment of GSM system into
Nigerian telecoms market was
universally embraced and found to be
relatively efficient at the inception. With
time, operators in the telecommunications industry
experienced an unprecedented growth in
customer-base which later incapacitated
the networks to function efficiently.
This explosive growth brought huge
revenue to both the operators and
government through tax and license fee
(Adegoke & Babalola, 2011).
According to Oluwafemi and Adebiyi
(2018), the Nigerian telecommunication
market is deregulated and liberalized,
thus making it highly competitive.
Therefore, customers should be offered
sophisticated products and services in
order to keep the firm the heart of
subscribers. Products and services
should not only be provided to
consumers, rather information about
such product and service offerings
should be effectively communicated to
the consumers. To this end, effective
use of promotional mix such as
advertising, sales promotion, public
relations, direct marketing, and personal
selling will help telecommunication
service providers to provide customers
with an in depth understanding of how
their products and services will meet
and satisfy the needs of customers in
order to stimulate and sustain
subscribers’ patronage that would result
in customer loyalty. It is not sufficient
for service operators in any competitive
market to provide quality service, but it
is worthwhile that they communicate
within a reasonable budget everything
that subscribers need to know about
current and future brand in order to take
informed decisions favorable to the firm
(Oluwafemi & Adebiyi, 2018).
Nigeria has been ranked the Seventh
(7th) position among the top ten
countries with the highest number of
mobile phone subscription in the world
(Wee, 2019). Mobile
telecommunication service providers
have invested over US$ 5.750 billion
into network expansion and provision of
better services in order enhance the
level of customer satisfaction and
customer patronage (Samuel &
Olatokun, 2014). Despite these efforts
made by telecom service providers in
Nigeria, Nigerians still complain about
still complain bitterly about the services
provided by telecom operators in terms
of high call tariffs, poor voice signals,
illegal deduction of airtime for calls not
made, poor reception, errors in
connection and poor inter-connectivity
with other networks among others.
Also, Nigerians x-rayed the activities of
telecommunications service providers
operating in the country, saying they
have failed to provide quality service
despite having spent lots of money for
poor quality service. These complaints
are mainly because Nigerians do not
enjoy the services provided as stated in
the promotional mix of telecom service
providers in Nigeria. Consumers have
judged the information provided during
promotional activities of telecom
service operators as misleading and
unethical because such information
claim do not reflect in the services they
offer (Emerah, Oyedele, & David, 2013;
Samuel & Olatokun, 2014; Ubabukoh,
2014; and Amah, Ogunnaike, Ayeni, &
Ojo, 2017). Hence, customers become
dissatisfied and switch from one service
provider to the other.
Several studies such as Ismail, Hussain,
Shah, and Hussain (2012); Muhanji and
Ngari (2015); Nkana and Dafiovo
(2015); Onigbinde and Odunlami


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