(Ecofin Agency) - Last week, Nigeria's telecom operators proposed a 40 percent increase in telecom service rates to offset their rising operating costs. However, while acknowledging that there could be justifiable reasons for it, the NCC is currently opposed to it.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently rejected the proposed 40% increase in telecom tariff proposed by operators. In a release dated May 6, 2022, the commission explained that “cost-based and empirical studies” were needed for such a venture.
“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 the appropriate cost (upper and floor price) within which service providers are allowed to charge their subscribers for services delivered,” the release reads.
The regulator reminded telecom operators that they must refer any tariff increase plan to its approval before any move even if there are justifiable reasons.
“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,” it adds
The idea of a possible hike in telecom tariffs surfaced in mid-March. However, the NCC was officially notified by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) last week. In its letter to the NCC, ALTON suggested a 40% increase in the SMS, call, and data tariffs due to high running costs. Subscribers opposed the suggestion deeming it inappropriate given the economic challenges they are facing.
Isaac K. Kassouwi