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NCC says it has not approved telecoms operators’ plan to hike cost of data, calls, SMS

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THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is yet to approve plans by Mobile Network Operators (Manos) to increase tariff on data and calls.

Telecommunication companies under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had asked the NCC to approve an upwards review of the cost of voice calls, short message services (SMS) and data.

Reacting to the development in a statement released via its Twitter handle on Saturday, the NCC said it has not approved the plan.

“While there could be justifiable reasons for MNOs’ demand for tariff 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. This is not the case for now,” the NCC said in the statement.

The NCC also noted that no tariff increase would be implemented without its approval.

“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.”

The Commission, however, noted that following empirical studies and regulatory procedures, prices determined following a cost study would be fair on both operators and subscribers.

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“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,” the statement added.

In a letter addressed to the NCC last week, the telecommunications companies said they want a 40 per cent increase in the cost of calls, SMS and data due to rising operational costs in the country.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org

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