Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria), on Tuesday succumbed to pressure from Nigeria citizens as it announced the removal of charges for its short message service (SMS), for its subscribers, in the light of the present trouble of coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a tweet on its verified Twitter handle, @AirtelNigeria, the telecommunication company said: “Airtel announces free SMS to all customers to connect with loved ones.

“Free SMS can be sent to all your friends and families across any network.

“Please note a Fair Usage policy applies to prevent network congestion at this time when network stability is paramount to keeping all of us connected”

“Distancing does not mean disconnecting,” Airtel tweeted.

Onyxnews Nigeria recalls that Nigerians called on telecommunications firms in the country to reduce tariffs for voice and data services on their networks due to the trouble posed by the deadly COVID-19.

National president of the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers (ATCIS), Sina Bilesanmi had urged the operators to be patriotic and not see the virus as an opportunity to make easy money.

Bilesanmi, while calling for collaborations between subscribers and telecoms operators, further said that if the virus must be defeated, access to telecoms services must be available and affordable.

Also, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, urged telecoms to ensure they further subsidy, relax calls, data for citizens in this challenging time.

The Minister tweeted: “As earlier conveyed, as the Minister of @FMoCDENigeria in charge of Policy of the Telecom Sector as in NCA, 2003, Part 1, I “urge” @NgComCommission, @MTNNG, @GloNg, @AirtelNigeria, @9mobilengCare, etc to ensure they further subsidy/relax calls/data for citizens in this critical time,” Pantami said via Twitter.

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