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MTN, Airtel, Others write NCC, Justify Planned 40% Hike In Call, Data Tariffs

As a result of the increased cost of doing business in Nigeria, telecommunication companies have proposed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) a 40% rise in the cost of calls, SMS, and data.

According to their suggestion, the call price floor will rise from N6.4 to N8.95, while the SMS price cap will rise from N4 to N5.61.

This was revealed in a letter titled ‘Impact of Economic and Security Issues on the Telecommunications Sector,’ to the regulatory body by the telecoms firms.

The telecommunications businesses wrote the letter to the NCC on Tuesday under the auspices of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria.

The telecom providers said in the letter that the cost of doing business in the country had increased by 40%.

They claim that the telecommunications business had been harmed financially as a result of the country’s economic downturn in 2020 and the ongoing Ukraine/Russia issue.

They claimed that this resulted in a 35 percent rise in their operational expenses due to an increase in energy costs.

They went on to say that the recent imposition of a 5% excise charge on telecom services had added to the industry’s burden of many taxes and levies.

The letter read in part, “As the commission may be aware, the power sector under the supervision of its Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission of the power sector in November 2020 undertook a review of electricity tariffs to cater for the economic headwinds reported above.

“In view of the foregoing, ALTON considers it expedient for the telecommunications sector to undergo periodic cost adjustments through the commission’s intervention in order to minimise the impact of the challenging economic issues faced by our members. Details are hereunder:

“Upward review of the price determination for voice and data and SMS. Given the state of the economy and the circa 40 per cent increase in the cost of doing business, we wish to request for an interim administrative review of the mobile (voice) termination rate for voice; administrative data floor price, and cost of SMS as reflected in extant instruments.

“With respect to voice an SMS cost, ALTON respectfully requests the commission to consider a mark-up approach to address the upward price adjustment desirable for the industry. We have enclosed herein and marked as ‘Annexure 1’our proposal in that regard.

“For data services, we wish to request that the commission implements the recommendations in the August 2020 KPMG report on the determination of cost-based pricing for wholesale and retail broadband service in Nigeria. Excerpts from the report, are attached and marked ‘Annexure 2’ to provide a further illustration.

“In implementing the said recommendations, however, we recommend that the 40 per cent increase in the cost of doing business be factored in to arrive at a cost price per GB in view of the current economic situation.”

According to ALTON, to further assist telcos during this economic downturn, the commission should explore and provide other means of punishing operators other than punitive monetary sanctions; extend the payment timeline for relevant regulatory levies and fees; and persuade the Federal Government to sign an executive order declaring telecoms infrastructure as a critical national infrastructure to reduce costs spent replacing damaged and stolen equipment


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