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Data Price Hike: Nigerian Senate Orders a Halt

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Data Price Hike: Nigerian Senate Orders a Halt

The proposed move by the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC) to raise the price floor for data have met strong confrontations on social media, which consequently led to the trend on twitter #NoToDataPriceHike. The Nigerian Senate proposed a suspension of the plan.

The Commission wrote to the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on November 1, 2016 on the determination of an interim price floor for data services after the stakeholder’s consultative meeting of October 19, 2016.

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 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. 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.

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 (NCC) 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.

Here is a clip of the proceeding at the House earlier today.

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