There are indications that the Telecommunication Service Providers in the country are set to hike the price of calls and data services they provide for Nigerians by 40% percent. According to a source, general Inflation in the market index and the cost of procuring diesel used in running the generators powering the telecom masts are the reason the telecoms are considering the new development. Unnecessary taxation and harassment from different government agencies against the service providers is another dimension given by the service providers for the expected hike in its tariffs.
The Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, which is the umbrella body coordinating its activities told Vanguard that the matter is under consideration.
Accordingly, ALTON has already transmitted a letter to the National Communication Commission, NCC, demanding a 40% percent hike in the price of its services.
Eventually, if the letter scales through, prices of voice calls, short message services, SMS, and data services will all be affected.
By implication, the service providers want the N6.4 per second current cost of voice calls jerked up to N8. 95 while short message services will move from N4. 00 to N5. 61.
The telecoms raised issues like the rising cost of business operation due to the high cost of diesel, and other energy sources, the recent introduction of excise duty of five percent on telecom services, and the increased burden of multiple taxes and levies on the industry are the main reason for the hike which has pushed its operation cost by 35 percent.
The letter as sighted reads, “As the commission may be aware, the power sector under the supervision of its Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, in November 2020 undertook a review of electricity tariffs to cater for the economic headwinds.
“In view of the foregoing, ALTON considers it expedient for the telecommunications sector to undergo periodic cost adjustments through the commission’s intervention to minimize the impact of the challenging economic issues faced by our members.
“Details are Upward review of the price determination for voice and data and SMS.
“Given the state of the economy and the circa 40 percent increase in the cost of doing business, we wish to request an interim administrative review of the mobile (voice) termination rate for voice; administrative data floor price, and cost of SMS as reflected in extant instruments.
The letter continued, “With respect to voice and SMS cost, ALTON respectfully requests the commission to consider a mark-up approach to address the upward price adjustment desirable for the industry.”
Confirming the transmission of the letter, an official of ALTON disclosed, “Although we did not intend that this will be a media issue, I can confirm to you that we sent a letter to the NCC requesting upward review of tariffs.
“But this shouldn’t come to you as a surprise. We have always intimated that this is the only way to go, considering prevailing circumstances, he said.