Why we proposed, then reversed plans to hike data price – NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission on Wednesday announced the immediate suspension of the new minimum pricing template for data services by mobile operators in the country.

The director, Public Affairs at the NCC, Tony Ojobo, said the decision to rescind its earlier directive to telecom operators to commence charging the new floor price rate for data from December 1, was to allow for further consultation with industry interest groups.

“Following concerns that visited the directive to introduce price floor for data segment of the telecommunications sector beginning from December 1, 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has suspended any further action in that direction,” Mr. Ojobo said in a statement.

“The decision to suspend this directive was taken after due consultation with industry stakeholders and the general complaints by consumers across the country.”

Mr. Ojobo said the Commission has already asked all operators to maintain the status quo until the conclusion of study to determine retail prices for broadband and data services in the country.

Prior to the suspension, Nigerians had raised concerns about the impropriety of the decision by government to hike price of data at this time.

Several Nigerians accused the NCC of insensitivity, considering the high cost of living in the face of the current economic recession in the country.

Social media users expressed fears the government planned to limit citizens’ access to the Internet.

In its reaction, the Senate passed a vote asking the Commission to immediately halt the proposed Internet data tariff hike.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly, in a motion under matter of urgent importance by Bala N’ Allah, the Senate Deputy Leader, condemned the planned data tariff hike, and asked the NCC to halt the increase immediately.

On November 1, the Commission, after a consultative meeting on October 19 with all mobile network operators in the country, wrote to them on the need to determine an interim price floor for data services.

In the memo, the telecom sector regulator justified its decision to have a price floor, claiming it was primarily to promote a level playing field for all operators in the industry, encourage small operators and new entrants.

The price floor of N3.11 kobo per megabyte of data in 2014, it recalled, was removed in 2015, pointing out that the price floor that was supposed to flag off on December 1, 2016 was put at 90 kobo per megabyte.

Although the Commission said smaller operators, by virtue of their small market share, were exempted from the now suspended price regime, it said the decision on the floor price was to protect the consumers who are at the receiving end.

The commission said the decision was equally to save the smaller operators from predatory services likely to suffocate them and push them out of business into extinction.

“The price floor is not an increase in price, but a regulatory safeguard put in place by the telecommunications regulator to check anti-competitive practices by dominant operators,” Mr. Ojobo clarified.

He denied the regulator had fixed prices for data services, pointing out that “the NCC does not fix prices, but provides regulatory guidelines to protect the consumers, deepen investments and safeguard the industry from imminent collapse.”

Prior to the now suspended price floor of N0.90k/MB, the industry average for dominant operators, including MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, EMTS Limited (Etisalat) and Airtel Nigeria Limited was N0.53k per megabyte.

Etisalat offered (N0.94k per megabyte), Airtel (N0.52k per megabyte), MTN (N0.45k per megabyte) and Globacom (N0.21k per megabyte).

A comparison of the data prices by the major operators with that initially proposed by NCC shows that but for the reversal, majority of Nigerians would have had to pay  between 90 and 300 per cent increase in data prices.

Infographics: NCC price floor - PREMIUM TIMES
Infographics: NCC price floor – PREMIUM TIMES

The smaller operators/new entrants, including Smile Communications, Spectranet and NATCOMS (NTEL) were allowed to charge N0.84k, N0.58k and N0.72k per megabyte respectively.


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  • blueeyedkitten

    this is confusing. can anybody explain? i’m seeing lots of contradictions here.

    • Tony

      They want ordinary people to suffer in order to encourage small operators. My guess is that the small operators are connected Govt officials and their cronies. God will deliver Nigeria.

  • DanielOsazuwa

    I believe it’s time to start signatures collection for the impeachment of PMB. This gross insensitivity to the plight of the citizenry is unbecoming of an elected leader. Since the change we all voted for and celebrated is now becoming a nightmare, Nigerians, we all must now be prepare to get rid of Buhari and Osibanjo through NASS impeachment.

    I AM AFRAID FOR OUR COUNTRY. Forget about the MSM, lies, the US, UK and EU are still suffering from the effect of the 2008/9 recession. These are countries that deployed massive fiscal and monetary policies in their recovering runs but all we are hearing is Buhari daughters getting married and their husband being appointedto head govt MDA as a reward.

    Please watch this disq space for more guidance. ENOUGH IS ENOGH!!!!!

    • blueeyedkitten

      please speak for yourself. some of us are very happy with this government, and we keep praying for her to succeed.

    • FreeNigeria

      I am in FULL support. Time to send the old man to Daura

    • FineBoy

      U can start, but it has failed already.
      What has PMB got to do with this?

  • r.s.t akhide

    EXCUSE ME,

    I am a very short person. My friend who lives on the next street told me to come to Premium Times.
    I pressed Premium Times on my internet but I did not see the discussion on PYGMY he told me.
    My friend said Premium Times is discussing Nasir El Rufai as a pygmy, but where is the story?
    There is nothing wrong with discussing pygmies, once you are objective in your discussion.

  • highchief

    I really hate when our youths applaud tweeter senator. Yesterday he was busy ranting on social media about NCC and FG and everyone excepted that he will do the job on the follow of the senate but as usual in form deaf and dumb.
    What baffles me is that he follow Akpabio behind immediately and stage a walk out in the bid of playing partisan politics when serious issue is being discussed. Tomorrow he will took to his tweet again to start ranting as usual.
    Few months ago, same tweeter senator during silver bird man of the year award that was crown to Jagaban. He tinubu told him dt he has gotten the platform that he shld no longer ranting on social media but put the issue on the floor for debate.
    Today even none tweeter users where busy firing NCC & FG from all angles and they mandated NCC to halt the plan effective immediately. It shows that empty vessel like d tweeter senator makes loud noise without achieving anything