NCC took a break from its internet hike proposal. The commission is still coming for your money soon enough
On November 30, the NCC halted the plan to impose what it called a "data price floor" across all telecommunication companies (Telcos) in the country, following public outcry and outrage.
According to the NCC, the price floor which was supposed to flag off on December 1, 2016 would have pegged data at N0.90k/MB.
Data subscriptions have been going for far less.
Different operators have been offering varied data prices.
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In halting its unpopular move, NCC hinted that it will be back.
"Following the 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", Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs at the NCC, said in statement.
The statement had added that: "The Commission has weighed all of this and consequently asked all operators to maintain the status quo until the conclusion of study to determine retail prices for broadband and data services in Nigeria".
The regulator had come under attack for not communicating enough before the proposed hike became public knowledge.
In the days following the suspension of the tariff hike, the agency hired social media influencers to help make its case.
Spokesperson Ojobo has been dispatched to make impromptu appearances on Television and Radio.
The Twitter account of the NCC has become very busy as well, as the commission targets a comeback.
Various talking heads have also been hired by the NCC as the commission seeks to improve on its sensitisation before slamming consumers with another data hike announcement.
The NCC says the data price hike has to go on in order to protect small players from being swallowed up by bigger players.
"The Commission re-introduced the price floor to prevent predatory pricing in the data segment of the market", NCC said on Monday, adding that "the Commission cannot allow market forces to determine data price because there will be distortion in market competition."
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Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, who had said he wasn't carried along before the data price hike fury swept through the land a week ago, is now backing NCC's decision.
“This is one area that I believe that we all must face the reality… If you look at the NCC law, it is positioned to reflect experiences, expertise and all of that and I want to believe that there must not be too many interventions in the activities of the NCC", Shittu said.
“I am a political office holder. I am not an expert, so I cannot venture to say whether they did wrong or right, except they say that the constitution has granted them the role of a supervisor, particularly relating to the activities in the Telecoms industry.
“The only area I feel they were deficient was in the area of communicating with the people of this country, particularly because of the sensitivity that has been imposed on Nigerians by the harsh economic situation.
“I know that if you want to make omelet you must break eggs. Unfortunately in this country, we fail to appreciate the transformation role that ICT has brought about in the lives of Nigerians".
Shittu added that Telcos are operating in a harsh business environment--one with no electricity or security.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman Prof. Umar Dambatta told the nation on Tuesday that the regulator will go ahead with its increase plan.
"A situation where a dominant operator provides services far below what is obtainable in the sector in order to attract more customers may lead to a situation where smaller operators will be forced to shut down,” Dambatta said.
“We stepped in when we noticed a price war in the sector. The price war was already reaching undesirable level that we had to step in to prevent a monopoly like the days of NITEL.”
There you have it, folks.
Brace up for another data price increase announcement in the days ahead.
Just don't say we didn't warn you.