NCC suspends data price hike

Ebun Francis

Following the outrage that followed the proposed hike in the price of data services by telecommunication firms in the country,the Nigerian Communications Commission has directed the telcos to halt the increase.

In statement by its Director of public affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, the agency stated, “Following the concerns that visited the directive to introduce price floor for data segment of the telecommunications sector beginning from December 1, 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission has suspended any further action in that direction.”

“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.”

The statement further stated that the decision to choose a price floor for data was aimed a promoting a level playing field for all operators in the industry and encourage small operators and new entrants and that there had been a price floor of N3.11k/MB in 2014 which was removed in 2015, it said the proposed price floor to take place on December 1, 2016 was 90k/MB.

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According to the statement, “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.”

It will recalled that the proposed price hike which would have taken effect from tomorrow, the 1st of December drew wide spread criticisms from Nigerians who accused the government of being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians given the present economic situation in the country. Earlier Wednesday, the Senate had asked  the NCC to suspend the proposed increase in data price .

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