No Hike In Tariff: NCC Assures Consumers

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Says no tariff hike without recourse to empirical studies

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been closely monitoring the flood of media stories about Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) apparently seeking to raise telecom service pricing and has taken note of telecom users’ concerns about the agitation.

In a letter to the Commission, MNOs under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) cite the high cost of conducting their operations as the main reason for their proposed fee hike.

In accordance with international best practices and established regulatory procedures, the NCC ensures that its regulatory activities are guided by regular cost-based and empirical studies to determine the appropriate cost (upper and floor price) within which service providers are permitted to charge their subscribers for services delivered.

The Commission assures that any cost decided as a result of such transparent investigations is fair enough to promote healthy competition among operators, give more options for consumers, and preserve the long-term viability of the Nigerian telecoms industry.

To avoid any doubt, and in contrast to MNOs’ agitation to increase tariffs for voice and SMS by a certain percentage, the Commission wishes to categorically inform telecoms subscribers and allay Nigerians’ fears that no tariff increase will be effected by the operators without due regulatory approval by the Commission.

It is worth noting that tariff regulations and determinations are made by the Commission in accordance with Sections 4, 90, and 92 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, which entrusts the Commission with the protection and promotion of subscribers’ interests against unfair practices, including but not limited to tariffs and charges.

The current tariff regime being handled by service providers is a result of the NCC’s determination in the past for both voice and SMS.

While there may be acceptable reasons for MNOs’ requests for tariff increases, it should be remembered that they are not permitted to do so, either individually or collectively, without first consulting the NCC and after the results of a cost study. For the time being, this is not the case.

Because of the NCC’s dedication to fostering healthy competition among licensees, the cost of services has been democratized and has become increasingly reasonable for Nigerian subscribers. The regulator is even more committed to this cause, ensuring that users get more bang for their buck when it comes to telecom services.

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Gbenga Elebiyo

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