The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has moved to allay consumer concerns around a possible tariff increase following a request from the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Business Insider Africa reports that ALTON last week sent a letter to the Nigerian regulator calling for a rise of up to 40% in the prices of calls, SMS and data to reflect the escalating costs of doing business in the market. Citing the state of the Nigerian economy, the letter requested “an interim administrative review of the mobile (voice) termination rate for voice; administrative data floor price, and cost of SMS as reflected in extant instruments.”
Public reaction has been swift, with many arguing that mobile tariffs are already unaffordable; inflation in Nigeria hit 15.92% in March, with prices of almost all products and services surging including energy and fuel. The Economic Times reported that the cost of diesel has more than doubled in the past month, and that Russia’s war on Ukraine could see costs escalate further going forward.
CommsUpdate reported that NCC has issued a statement categorically asserting that while there are justifiable reasons for operators to call for a price hike, they are unable to implement one individually or collectively without regulatory approval.
The NCC’s statement read: “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 appropriate cost (upper and floor price) within which service providers are allowed to charge their subscribers for services delivered. 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.”