December 07, 2016

Not Again : NCC advises Nigerians to prepare for increase in data price plans

Recently, NCC plans to increase price of data in Nigeria on 1st December which was later cancelled due to the alarm raised by Deputy senate and some of our Nigerian big music artist. It was very bad that MTN adhered to the plan of NCC to increase data, because they discontinued the lovely cheap night plan of 500MB for N25.

Now the latest news is that,

Yesterday, the Senate Committee on
Communications met with key stakeholders to address the proposed increase in data price by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

The Senate Committee was mandated to investigate the proposed increase in data price tariff said to have been ordered by the NCC. The Vice Chairman
of the Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola relayed the Senate’s concern over the proposed data price increase.

Senator Adeola, while speaking at the stakeholders meeting said that Nigerians were united in their opposition, that the proposed increase in the price of data should be stopped. According to the senator, the hike in data price was ill-advised especially with the biting economic situation in the country.

Professor Danbatta, (Vice-Chairman of the NCC, while addressing the committee, said that the intervention of the NCC was not designed to rip-off the consumers. Danbatta explained that if cheap prices were introduced, they may end up undermining the telecom service operators.

According to Danbatta, the need to avert crisis in the telecom industry informed the introduction of the interim price floor for data services – ₦0.90k per megabyte.

“We wanted to protect the
Nigerian consumer from
unhealthy price war in what may
lead to a monopoly that may lead
us to the days of NITEL. We did
not increase any price but merely
provided a regulatory standard to
protect small telecom operators.”
– Prof. Danbatta, Executive Vice
Chairman of the NCC.

In the defence of the NCC, Danbatta speak saying that there were some telecom operators/ network providers that lacked the capacity to compete with the big operators in the field. Therefore, the ₦0.90k price floor for data was a benchmark below which no operator could sell.

The move by the NCC was primarily to avoid a situation where a dominant operator provides services far below what is obtainable in the sector in order to attract more customers. Having monopolies within the communications sector may lead to the closure of smaller operators.

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu also contributed saying that in reality the telecom service providers were operating under unfriendly business environment including lack of electricity and increasing security challenges.

“This is one area that I believe
that we all must face the reality. I
am happy the National Assembly
promulgated the National
Communications Act which
required that there be established
an NCC. “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. – Adebayo
Shittu, Minister of

Adebayo Shittu while reflecting on the data hike pointed out that the NCC was deficient at properly communicating the new price floor to the public. Adebayo during the stakeholders meeting appealed to the Senate to assist in the area of holding the balance between the interest of operators and the interest of the Nigerian masses.

Adebayo also spoke about the importance of the ICT sector to bring about the transformation to increase the revenue and to sustain Nigeria’s

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Etisalat Matthew Willsher while speaking to the Senate Committee said that the absence of a price floor is
a major problem. He further said that the absence of a data price floor led to the dramatic decline in data pricing.

Ferdinand Moolman, CEO of MTN, who was also in attendance spoke about the impact of inflation on the sector. Ferdinand asked that the NCC does a
proper cost in price analysis which will factor in the current inflation in the country.

To address the committee’s concerns on the data price hike, Danbatta explained that the NCC does not set prices but provide regulatory safe guides. Danbatta made it clear to the Senate
Committee that the NCC would conduct an extensive research to come up with a price floor that would be acceptable to Nigerians.


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