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NCC seeks citizens’ protection of facilities as ALTON reviews voice tariff

For improved telecoms service delivery, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is seeking consumers and stakeholders to join hands with the Commission to protect network infrastructure.
This is as leading industry group, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) is looking at coming up with a cost-based tariff for voice calls in the country.
While denying any affront directed as causing tariff hike for voice calls, chairman of the group, Engr Gbenga Adebayo insists that the drive is to cause a clear reflection of realities in the cost of doing business in the country.
Arguing that the current tariff which had remained unchanged for too long fails short of observable realities in cost of doing business in Nigeria, ALTON averred that “We are asking that tariff should be cost-based and for that to happen we need to understand what are the costs that are being incurred due to multiple taxation and consequently, relate that to the tariff that will be charged in those areas. That is actually what the conversation is about.”
In his submission in an interview, Adebayo made it clear that “We are going to be approaching the NCC with all the cost information and we are going to be requesting through the established protocols for a cost-based tariff. We will not be right to say it is an increase in tariff but tariff that will reflect the cost of service provision.”
“There is a base price, a minimum bottom price- that has been determined by the NCC and that is based on general cost of service provision and operating expenditure and recurring cost. It certainly doesn’t consider issues of taxation and levies. “
Corroborating ALTON’s position, President of Association of Telecom companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, explained that “The cost-based pricing may be sent to NCC for adoption. That doesn’t suggest increase in prices to the consumers after all.”
While addressing an audience of telecoms consumers at a sensitisation programme on the protection of telecoms infrastructure in Okene Kogi State recently, the NCC’s Director Zonal Operations, Mrs. Amina Shehu, said concerted efforts of all stakeholders including subscribers were needed to protect telecoms infrastructure.
Shehu, represented by a Principal Manager in the Zonal Operations Directorate, Mr. Ekisola Oladisun, said that if the Quality of service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) enjoyed by the consumers are to be improved upon, the consumers needed to play a role by joining hands in protecting telecoms infrastructure such as base transceiver stations (BTS) and fibre optic cables located in their vicinities.
NCC noted that key challenges hobbling telecoms infrastructure include vandalism, theft of telecoms site equipment’s and harassment and intimidation of telecoms site engineers, indiscriminate shutdown of telecoms facilities by government agencies, right of way (RoW) issues among others.
Shehu, “It is important to note that the spate of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure across the country has resulted in cases of poor quality of service which telecoms consumers complain about.”
She added that it was on the basis of these realities, that the Commission has organised the workshop in order to educate consumers on the imperative of protecting telecoms infrastructure, which has become the backbone for the entire economy, stressing that “we need to collectively protect telecoms infrastructure in our communities to prevent decline in quality of service on the networks of our service providers.”
In his remarks, an official in the Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI) Directorate, NCC, Mr. Musa Daibu, said the Commission and other stakeholders were pushing for the passing into law of a bill on Critical National Infrastructure, which, if passed into law, will help to further improve telecoms infrastructure protection, as it will classify telecoms infrastructure as national assets.