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Is NCC right for rejecting proposed hike in call and data tariff by Telecom companies in Nigeria?

This is surely a wrong time to ask for price increase in Nigeria.

Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said the call was needless at the moment. However, Nigeria has one of the lowest telecom tariffs in the world.

“From time to time, we do benchmarking, so that Nigeria will not be in the forefront of charging very high prices as well as ensure that the mobile operators are not charging amounts that are unrealistic, which will make them lose their business,” he explained.

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“We will continue to look at the regime of fees being charged by services providers; I am talking on voice services, SMS or data service, to ensure these rates are consistent with global best practices as Nigeria cannot live in isolation.”

There have been several attempts by the telecos operating in Nigeria to jerk up prices of calls and data in recent time. Their claim is that the floor price system is not favourable to their business operation.

However, every time this action is taken, it usually met opposition from the people. But this time, the decision to shut down the process is from the NCC which Nigerians have accused of supporting the telecos in this endeavour.

One thing that took away the supposed support of NCC was the level of service being offered by the telecos. The summary evaluation is that it is grossly poor and worth lesser than the current price. Hence, the call for an increase might be important but not now.

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Internet affordability drive is another point that made NCC’s action right and appropriate. Communication affordability is linked to better business environment and innovation, especially for the tech ecosystem. Thus, approving the new tariff would have been hurtful to the growth of small businesses and tech community in the country.

Lastly, the economic condition makes the policy an anti-people welfare move. An increase in the price of communication would affect the cost of business operation living and eventually drag up the cost of living.

Considering the current bad economy, Nigerians are not ready for any price increase and this situation was best understood by the NCC. Thus, informing this decision.

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