1.0 Background of the study
The Nigerian mobile telecommunication sub-sector of the economy has often been referred to as the fastest growing market in Africa in many for a. The telecommunication market in the country became very active in 2001 when the Federal Government deregulated the sector. Thus, the telecommunication system which was previously monopolized by the government owned NITEL was opened up with the issuance of Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) unified license in that year. The deregulation ushered in major telecommunication players like the MTN, AIRTEL (formerly Econet, Vodacom, V-mobile, Zain and Celtel), Glomobile, Etisalat, Visafone, Multilinks, Starcomms and Zoom. Furthermore, the government took steps to regulate the activities of the companies by establishing the Nigeria Communication Commission through the NCC Act of 2003.
With this development, majority of Nigerians today have access to telephony. Available records between October 2011 and September 2012 show a monthly data of 129,088,295 million active subscribers. However, the NCC quarterly reports of September 2012 show active subscribers 0f 103,653,380 million. Of this figure, MTN was said to be leading with 45,639,749 million subscribers followed by Globacom with 22,360,822 million, Airtel, ETISALAT and MTEL have 21,101,758 and 14,392,531 million and MTEL 258,520 subscribers, GSM network providers have continued to use different advertising tools especially Radio, deploying both English and local languages to persuade prospects to choose their networks. Child abuse
Notwithstanding, lack of the visuals and the transient nature of radio advertising for instance, experts in the field of advertising see radio as pervasive and a veritable tool in reaching the target audience with advertising messages. This is because radio can entertain people who are driving, walking, working at home and away from home which makes it a medium to reach people who commute by car and adaptable to modes (Arens, Weigold and Arens, 2008). Radio has also continued to play a pivotal role in the dissemination of information about promotional activities of the GSM network providers. Subscribers have also come to associate the networks with their payoffs through advertisement on radio. For instance, MTN goes with the slogan: ʽeverywhere you goʼ, EtisalatʽNow you are talkingʼ, Airtel,ʽfeelfreeʼ, and Gloinfinito advertisement of 25k per second call by Glo for subscribers on its network and Etisalat’sHomezoneare often heard more frequently on radio than any other medium of advertising. Child abuse
Hawkings, Best and Conney (2001), Belch and Belch (2004), Arens, Weigold and Arens (2008) have also identified reference groups as a major influence on consumer behaviour in making decision. Child abuse
According to Belch (2004), the presumed perspectives or values of this group are being used by an individual as the basis for his or her judgements, opinions and actions. Reference groups can be personal, that is (family, friends, coworkers) or impersonal (political parties, religious denominations and professional associations) etc.
Notwithstanding, the influence that both advertising and reference groups exert on consumers in making purchase decisions, Perreault, William and McCarthy (2005) argued that economic needs such as: Economy of purchase or use, convenience, efficiency in operation or use, dependability in use and improvement of earnings often also influenced consumers’ behaviour in making purchase decisions. They explained further that physiological variables (motivation, perception, learning, social class, attitude, personality and life style), social influence(family, social class, reference groups and culture) and purchase situations (purchase reason, time and surroundings) all exert influences on behavioural disposition of the consumer when making purchase decisions. Nevertheless, the concern of this study is whether radio advertising and reference groups influence consumers in their choice of GSM network. Child abuse