Two years after the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) was implemented in Nigeria, Waja, who was probably in his middle age, was required to pay a staggering N24,000 just to purchase a SIM card in the year 2003.
“I bought my SIM at N24,000..” Waja said as he shared his experience on the cost of his first phone and SIM card on Nairaland, a popular Nigerian-owned internet forum created in 2005.
Waja wasn’t alone. Many other Nairalanders (users of Nairaland) recalled the humongous amounts they paid for their SIM cards, especially in the 2000s.
“I bought my MTN sim card for N17,500 and it was considered really cheap at that time in 2003,” another Nairalander said.
A public servant in his 60s even had to obtain a loan before he could buy a SIM card, which cost ?25,000 in 2004.
That’s not all. Making phone calls was a luxury above the reach of millions of Nigerians at the time.