No Approval To Increase Voice, SMS Other Tariffs By Network Operators– NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission  has said that no approval has been granted Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to increase tariffs.

The reaction is following agitation by telcos under the umbrella of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

This was contained in a statement signed by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde Director, Public Affairs of the Commission. 

Telcos have decried high cost of running their operations and seek to raise tariff due to 40 per cent increase in cost of doing business. 

ALTON  proposed an upward review of the price of calls  from N6.4 to N8.95, while the tariff fir SMS will increase from N4 to N5.61 according to a letter sent to the regulator. 

“Given the state of the economy and the 40 per cent increase in the cost of doing business, we wish to request an interim administrative review of the mobile (voice) termination rate for voice; administrative data floor price, and cost of SMS as reflected in extant instruments,” ALTON had said.

But the regulator acknowledged the letter and said 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 for services delivered. 

The NCC said, “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. 

“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.”

The Commission admitted the telcos have justifiable reasons to demand the review of tariffs adding, “current tariff regime being administered by the service providers is a product of NCC’s determination both for voice and SMS in the past.”

NCC noted that operators do not have rights to review the charges without recourse to regulatory standards. 

The NCC explained, “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.

“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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