No approval to increase other voice and SMS tariffs by network operators – NCC – The Whistler Nigeria

The Nigerian Communications Commission said no permission has been given to mobile network operators (MNOs) to increase tariffs.

The reaction follows agitation by telecommunications operators under the umbrella of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

This was in a statement signed by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, director of public affairs for the Commission.

Telecom operators have denounced the high cost of their operations and are seeking to increase tariffs due to the 40% increase in the cost of doing business.

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

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

But the regulator acknowledged receipt of the letter and said that, in accordance with international best practice and established regulatory procedures, the NCC ensures that its regulatory activities are guided by regular cost-based and empirical studies to determine the appropriate cost for the services provided.

The NCC said: “The Commission is ensuring that any cost determined, as a result of these transparent studies, is fair enough to enhance healthy competition between operators, provide wider choices to subscribers and ensure the sustainability of the Nigerian telecommunications industry.

“For the avoidance of doubt, and contrary to the agitation by MNOs to increase the rates for voice and short messaging (SMS) services by a certain percentage, the Commission wishes to categorically inform telecom subscribers and allay the fears of Nigerians that No tariff increases will be made by operators without proper regulatory approval from the Commission.

“It should be noted that regulations and tariff determinations are made by the Commission in accordance 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 interests of subscribers against unfair practices, including, but not limited to, issues relating to rates and charges.

The Board admitted that the telecommunications operators had justifiable reasons for requiring the revision of the tariffs, adding that “the current tariff regime administered by the service providers is the product of NCC’s determination for both voice and SMS in the past”.

The NCC noted that operators do not have the right to review charges without resorting to regulatory standards.

The NCC explained: “It should be noted that they are not allowed to do this individually or collectively without recourse to the NCC, following the result of a cost study. This is not the case at the moment.

“Through NCC’s commitment to engendering healthy competition among licensees, the cost of services has been democratized and has become increasingly affordable for Nigerian subscribers. The regulator is even more committed to this cause to ensure that subscribers get better value for telecommunications services.

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