Following the myriad of complaints that trailed the directive to introduce price floor for the data segment of the telecommunications sector beginning from 1st of December, this year, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has suspended the move.
The decision to suspend the directive, according to NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, was taken after due consultation with industry stakeholders and the general complaints by consumers across the country.
Ojobo said that the Commission had weighed the complaints and consequently asked all operators to maintain the status quo until the conclusion of the study to determine retail prices for broadband and data services in Nigeria.
“Recall that the Commission wrote to the Mobile Network Operators on the 1st of November this year on the determination of an interim price floor for data services after the stakeholder’s consultative meeting of October 19, this year” he explained.
According to NCC “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 the 1st of December this year was N0.90k/MB.
“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.
NCC, however, clarified the insinuation in some quarters that the regulator has fixed prices for data services, saying it is not true because the body 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 that was N0.53k/MB.
While Etisalat offered (N0.94k/MB), Airtel, MTN and Globacom charged N0.52k/MB, N0.45k/MB and N0.21k/MB respectively.
The smaller operators/ new entrants charge the following: Smile Communications N0.84k/MB, Spectranet N0.58k/MB and NATCOMS (NTEL) N0.72k/MB.