The federal government has moved to compel telecommunications firms in the country to crash the prices of data being offered to mobile internet subscribers.
The move came after a UK-based price comparison website, cable.co.uk, revealed that Nigeria was among countries with the highest prices of data in Africa.
Statistical data obtained by THE WHISTLER showed that Nigeria ranked 46th position in the “worldwide data pricing” table on the website which looked at the average price of 1GB of mobile data across different networks in 230 countries.
The data were gathered between 23 October and 28 November 2018, after which the average cost of 1GB of data was calculated and compared to rank countries according to how cheap internet data are being offered to subscribers.
Nigeria’s ranking at 46th position prompted the Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami, to direct the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to compel telecommunications service providers in the country to reduce their data prices.
Pantami’s personal assistant, Yusuf Abubakar, disclosed that the minister gave the directive on Sunday after receiving a progress report on the implementation of Short-Term Performance Targets set for the NCC.
Abuabakar said, “According to the report from a UK-based price comparison website – Cable, Nigeria is not among the top 10 African countries with low average price of data, a position the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami, finds worrisome considering the fact that the country has over 174 million internet users made public by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
“The minister also finds it unacceptable that with the prevailing high cost of data in Nigeria, the citizens still do not enjoy value for money as subscribers battle daily with illegal deduction of data, poor quality of service, among others.
“It is against this backdrop that the minister directed the NCC, the telecom regulators, to immediately work hand in hand with the telecom operators and ensure a downward review of the price of data in Nigeria, improved quality of service provided and check the illegal deduction of subscribers’ data,” said the minster’s aide.
Pantami was said to have also directed the management of government-owned internet service provider, Galaxy Backbone Plc, to improve their services and generate more revenue for the government.
“The minister reminded the management of Galaxy Backbone Plc that the Nigerian government invested in the enterprise to reap the dividend of its investment,” said Abubakar.