The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has suspended its directive to telecommunication operators to increase the price of Data.
This is coming shortly after the Senate had asked the NCC to stop the planned data price increase until all parties meet to resolve the outstanding issues.
The National Assembly on Wednesday, directed its committee on communication to meet with the service providers and get back to them.
The NCC had mandated the five big telecommunication operators in the country, to increase their data tariffs beginning from Thursday, December 1, 2016.
In a statement by the commission’s Public Affairs Director, Tony Ojobo, stated that:
“The decision to suspend this directive was taken after due consultation with industry stakeholders and the general complaints by Consumers across the country.
“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.
According to him, “the decision to have a price floor was primarily to promote a level playing field for all operators in the industry, encourage small operators and new entrants.
“The price floor in 2014 was N3.11k/MB but was removed in 2015. The price floor that was supposed to flag off on December 1, 2016 was N0.90k/MB.
“In taking that decision, the smaller operators were exempted from the new price regime, by virtue of their small market share.
“The decision on the price floor was taken in order to protect the consumers who are at the receiving end and save the smaller operators from predatory services that are likely to suffocate them and push them into extinction.
The statement therefore clarified that “the price floor is not an increase in price but a regulatory safeguard, put in place by the telecommunications regulator to check anti-competitive practices by dominant operators.
Furthermore, it cleared the air on the insinuation in some quarters that the regulator has fixed prices for data services.
“This is not true because the NCC does not fix prices but provides regulatory guidelines to protect the consumers, deepen investments and safeguard the industry from imminent collapse.
“Before the new suspended price floor of N0.90k/MB, the industry average for dominant operators including MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, EMTS Limited (Etisalat) and Airtel Nigeria Limited was N0.53k/MB.
“Etisalat offered (N0.94k/MB), Airtel (N0.52k/MB), MTN (N0.45k/MB) and Globacom (N0.21k/MB).
The smaller operators/ new entrants charge the following: Smile Communications N0.84k/MB, Spectranet N0.58k /MB and NATCOMS (NTEL) N0.72k/MB.
“The NCC as a responsive agency of government takes into consideration the feelings of the consumers and so decided to suspend the new price floor,” the statement read.
The suspension of the directive, has indeed allayed the fears of many Nigerians, who already anticipated the move from Thursday, in the face of an already harsh economic situation.