Nigerian Communications Commission (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.
MNOs are requesting a tariff increase under the auspices of ALTON, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria. This letter is addressed to the Commission.
In accordance with international best practices, the NCC ensures that its regulatory activities are guided and supported by cost-based and empirical research to determine the appropriate price (upper or floor) at which service providers can charge subscribers for the services they provide.
The Commission assures that the cost of any such transparent study is fair enough to encourage healthy competition among operators, give subscribers more choices, and ensure the sustainability of Nigeria’s 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 important to note that the Commission makes tariff regulations and determines tariffs in accordance with Sections 4, 90, and 92 of Nigerian Communications Act 2003. This Act entrusts it with protecting and promoting the subscribers’ interests against unfair practices.
The current tariff regime being administered by the service providers is a product of NCC’s determination both for voice and SMS in the past.
However, while there could be justifiable reasons for MNOs’ demand for tarrif increase, 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. For now, this is not true.
Through NCC’s commitment to engendering healthy competition among the licensees, the cost of services has been democratized and become more and more affordable for Nigerian subscribers. To ensure that subscribers receive greater value for their money, the regulator is more dedicated to this cause.