NCC dispels subscribers’ fears over telcos’ 40% hike

By Felicia Nwosu

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has dispelled subscribers’ fears over the 40% hike proposed by telecommunications operators on the price of data, SMS, and call services. Telecom operators cited high operational cost as the major reason, according to their letter to NCC.

This was disclosed in a statement sent to MARKETING EDGE by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC. According to the Commission’s spokesman, NCC has monitored with keen interest the deluge of reports in the media on the demand by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), ostensibly to increase tariffs of telecom services, and has taken notes of the fears being expressed by telecom subscribers on the agitation. It therefore assured subscribers that there will be no tariff hike without recourse to empirical studies.

“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 affected by the operators without due regulatory approval by the Commission,” the statement said.

The statement added: “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.

Also corroborating NCC’s mouthpiece submission, Deolu Ogunbanjo, National President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers(NATCOMS), in an interview with MARKETING EDGE, said despites some of the challenges enumerated by the operators such as high cost of diesel, attacks on its  personnel during loading of diesel and the proposed additional 5% on all imported telecom equipment  by the Nigerian Customs which takes effect  from 1st of June,  2022, both the operators and subscribers are counting endless loses. He, therefore, called for a way to curb it.

“Yes they have suffered some losses of revenues due to the 70 million subscribers that have not been linked to the National Identification Number (NIN). I will tell you that is a big loss of revenue because those over 70 million lines, out of about 200 million lines, are not yet linked and they cannot make outgoing calls. What we are now saying is, let the government do the needful, the increase is not necessary at all, and the government has not even told them that they have removed the price cap on telecom tariffs. There is a price cap which is the maximum they can go which is still in force. They can’t do that until the government says go ahead,” he said.

The national president, therefore, called for the urgent intervention of the government to confront some of the challenges faced by the operators by extending the duration for NIN registration to enable subscribers to bounce back to their businesses while reducing losses as well.

“Let government ensure that they extend between 3-6 months the SIM linkage deadline. There are lots of challenges being faced by the operators in the registration process. Again, the capacity of NIN SIM Commission  for all the NIN  registration centers to upload their data to the NIN portal is doubtful because the system is very slow, they do not do more than maybe 10 a day, so it is so cumbersome for them to upload,” he advised.

He decried that this will have a negative impact on the plan for digital inclusion.

“This is also going to affect the digital inclusion plan in the long run. They shouldn’t do that. We are in a digital economy and digital inclusion is very necessary. The world has gone digital, and we must not be left behind,” he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.