NCC suspends data price hike, asks operators to maintain old tariff

By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has suspended proposed tariff hike for data service providers in the country.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojogbo said the decision to suspend this directive was taken after due consultation with industry stakeholders and the general complaints by consumers across the country.
He wrote that “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.”
He said the decision for the hike 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.
According to the commission, “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 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.”
This statement clarifies 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.

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