Nigeria: MTN, Airtel ordered to reverse price hikes
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has ordered Airtel Nigeria and MTN Nigeria to immediately reverse their rate increases on voice and data services implemented last week.
Both MTN and Airtel enforced a new data tariff plan without the approval of the NCC.
According to a statement by NCC director, public affairs Reuben Muoka, the two operators implemented a 10% upwards tariff adjustment for voice and data, which was only provisionally approved by the regulator.
Muoka said, “The consideration of 10% approval for tariff adjustments for different voice and data packages was in line with the mandate of the commission as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act of 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines as this was within the provisions of the existing price floor cap as determined for the industry. The decision was taken after a critical and realistic review and analysis of the operational environment and the current business climate in Nigeria as it affects all sectors of the economy.”
“Further, even though the tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the NCC management pending the final approval of board of the commission, in the end, it did not have the approval of the board of the commission. As a result, it is reversed.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Ibrahim Pantami said his priority was to protect citizens and ensure justice for all stakeholders involved.
Pantami said, “As much as there is an increase in the cost of production, the provision of telecom services is still very profitable and it is necessary that subscribers are not subjected to a hike in charges. The Commission will carry further consultations with all industry stakeholders on the best approaches that will protect and uphold the interest of both the consumers and service providers.”
Neither MTN nor Airtel had responded to requests for comment at the time of publishing.
Early this year, operators in the country, under the auspices of the Association of Licenced Telecom Operators (ALTON), engaged the NCC with a proposal to raise tariffs by 40% citing the high costs of doing business in the country.
The NCC declined the proposal.