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Bring down voice price cap officially from N50 to N20, NATCOMS tells NCC

President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo has called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to look at bringing down the price cap of N50 per minute to N20 per minute, since the cap had been on since 2001.

In an interview, he said data tariff, voice tariff and other communication services should be reviewed downwards to deepen uptake of internet and broadband penetration.

He said leaving the price cap officially unchanged even though it has come down is very bad. He expressed worry why NCC will be swift in working to review interconnection rate it did last four years ago; 2013, leaving voice price cap it set last in 2001.

Interconnection or termination rates are the charges which one telecommunications operator charges the other, for terminating calls on its network either from abroad or locally and it is set by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Business Hilights recalls that the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had last week in Abuja said in light of current market realities, NCC was set to review the interconnection rates for voice services, which has been fixed in 2013.

Danbatta said at a Stakeholders’ Forum on Cost-Based Study for the Determination of Mobile Voice Termination Rate that the commission had carried out an in-depth cost study.

He said that since the last determination, which took effect April 2013, the country’s communication market had witnessed tremendous growth in both subscriber numbers as well as traffic volumes.

According to him, “The sector has witnessed changes in available technologies (2G, 2.5G, 3G and 4G) and other network elements, including global financial markets, which have an impact over inputs such as cost of capital.

“The scale of changes will inevitably affect the unit cost of providing services, including interconnection, and may lead to differences between regulated interconnection rates and underlying costs.

“This, in turn, may result in differences between on-net and off- net retail tariffs. It is very important we ensure that interconnection services are not only fairly-priced and non-discriminative, but should reflect the cost of providing such services in the market.

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