Nigeria’s regulator downplays talk of mobile tariff increase
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has all but dismissed talk of an increase in mobile tariffs and warned that mobile network operators cannot independently or collectively adjust prices without regulatory approval.
The warning comes after the regulator received an official request to hike prices from the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Last week, ALTON corresponded with the NCC and called for a 40% increase in the prices of calls, SMS and data, citing the escalating costs of doing business in the Nigerian telecommunications market.
The Association said given the state of the country’s economy, an interim administrative review of mobile termination rates for voice, administrative data floor price and SMS costs “as reflected in extant instruments.”
But the NCC refuted claims circulating that an increase was eminent, and said even in cases where a price hike is justified, operators cannot proceed without approval.
NCC director, public affairs Dr Ikechukwu Adinde said: “For the avoidance of doubt, and contrary to MNO’s agitation to increase tariffs for voice and SMS by a certain percentage, the commission wishes to categorically inform telecom subscribers and allay the fears of the Nigerians that no tariff increase will be effected by the operators without due regulatory approval by the commission.”
“Consistent with international best practices and established regulatory procedures, the NCC ensure its regulatory activities are guided by regular cost-based and empirical studies to determine the appropriate costs (upper and floor price) within which service providers are allowed to charge their customers for the 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 subscribers as well as ensure sustainability of the Nigerian telecoms industry.”