NCC Blocks 40% Tariff Hike In Telecom Services, Says No Approval
NCC Blocks 40% Tariff Hike In Telecom Services, Says No Approval
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NCC Blocks 40% Tariff Hike In Telecom Services, Says No Approval

Regulator's stern response puts paid to plan by Telcos to increase tariffs for phone calls, SMS and data

5 mins read

Following reports on call and SMS tariff increase by Mobile Telecommunications Network Operators in Nigeria in the past few days, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has allayed the fears of subscribers stating that there was no plan to increase tariffs. 

NCC said there is no cause for alarm as no such increase has been approved by the Commission. It added  that it is committed to ensuring adherence to international best practices and established procedures in its regulatory activities.

This NCC’s position was revealed in a statement released on Friday by its Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, who stated that any tariff increase by telecoms service providers must be approved by the commission guided by regular cost-based and empirical studies to determine appropriate cost to be adopted by the service providers.

Telecom providers under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had written to the NCC seeking upward review of voice calls, SMS and data costs tariffs by 40 percent due to high cost of operations currently.

ALTON proposed upward review of the price of voice calls to increase from N6.4 to N8.95, while that of SMS to increase from N4 to N5.61.

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Some obsevers said the five per cent excise duty imposed on recharge cards and vouchers by the Customs Service may be part of the reason for the proposed telecoms tariff Increase.

Adinde noted that the commission received the request letter from ALTON about proposed increased but stated that any decision in that regard must be fair enough to the subscribers and engender healthy competition among services providers.

Party of the statement reads, “Consistent with international best practice and established regulatory procedures, the NCC ensures its regulatory activities are guided by regular cost-based and empirical studies to determine appropriate cost (upper and floor price) within which service providers are allowed to charge their subscribers for services delivered.

“The Commission ensures that any cost determined, as an outcome of such transparent studies is fair enough as to enhance healthy competition among operators, provide wider choices for the subscribers as well as ensure sustainability of the Nigerian telecoms industry.

“The Commission ensures that any cost determined, as an outcome of such transparent studies is fair enough as to enhance healthy competition among operators, provide wider choices for the subscribers as well as ensure sustainability of the Nigerian telecoms industry.

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“For the avoidance of any doubt, and contrary to MNOs’ agitation to increase tariffs for voice and Short Messaging Services (SMS) by a certain percentage, the Commission wishes to categorically inform telecoms subscribers and allay the fears of Nigerians that no tariff increase will be effected by the operators without due regulatory approval by the Commission.

“It is noteworthy that tariff regulations and determinations are made by the Commission in line with the provisions of Sections 4, 90 and 92 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, which entrusts the Commission with the protection and promotion of the interests of subscribers against unfair practices including but not limited to; matters relating to tariffs and charges.”

It pointed out that the current tarriff regime being administered by the service providers is a product of NCC’s decision both for voice and SMS.

Continuing it said, “However, while there could be justifiable reasons for MNOs’ demand for tarrif increase, it should be noted that they are not allowed to do such either individually or collectively without recourse to NCC, following the outcome of a cost study. This is not the case for now.

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“Through NCC’s commitment to engendering healthy competition among the licensees, the cost of services has been democratised and become more and more affordable for Nigerian subscribers. The regulator is even more committed to this cause to ensure subscribers get greater value for money spent on telecom services.”

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