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Tariff increase: We intervened to stop war among telecoms operators-NCC

The Nigeria Communiacation Commission (NCC) has explained that the introduction of price floor for data was not designed to undermine the capability of consumers to buy cheap data.
The Commission which was answering to the Senate Committee on Communications at a public hearing on the recent increase in data tariff however warned that providing cheap data comes with a price.

It stressed that by beating down price of data to the lowest level, some of the companies may not be able to sustain the tempo in the market.
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Pro. Umar Garba Danbatta, who fielded questions from the Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (Lagos West), further explained that the essence of the price floor was to encourage continuous investment in infrastructure and network to ensure sustainability of the sector.
“The rate was fixed at the level that would encourage growth, roll out services and ultimately attract investments  into the sector.
It was also because of the need to create a balance  by ensuring that the interim price floor was not too low in order to provide a cushion for small operator and  new entrant to offer competitive products.

The interim price floor of 90 Kobo per megabites which will subsist pending finalisation of the study on the determination of Cost Based Pricing for Retail Broadband and Data Services in Nigeria.

“In order to promote a level playing field for all operators in the industry, small operators  and new entrants were exempted from price floor for data services,” he said.
Danbatta also said  that it was  the collective responsibility of Nigerians to ensure steady growth, development and  sustainability of the telecoms industry in the country, adding that this responsibility was further underlined  by the current economic challenges facing the country.

“The Act establishing the Nigeria Communications Commission states that NCC is an independent regulatory agency for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. We have an undertaking to protect and empower the consumer through various engagements in the form of meetings and various  means of communication”.
“We are aware of what we need to do to ensure to ensure regulatory excellence in the industry. Therefore, when we detect the industry heading in a direction that will result in an undesired outcome in terms of competition, quality service we then intervene by providing regulatory safeguard to protect the consumers. The consumer is at the front-burner of our operation,” he noted.

Earlier, the senate committee Chairman, Senator Adeola had drawn the attentions of the Danbatta, and the telecom operators to insinuations in the public domain that data tariff has been increased.

He said “looking at the economic trend Nigerians are of the opinion that this is not the right time  for  any increase in data tariff and as such  they are of the belief that the federal government should be sensitive to their needs and  should prevail by mandating the telecoms industry to retract their decision”.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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