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Subscribers kick as Nigeria announces 50% slash in data cost

Subscribers told Daily Trust that they still buy 1GB of data for N1000.

Telecom subscribers have challenged the claim by the Federal Government on Nigeria (FGN) that the price of data had been reduced by more than 50 percent.

Subscribers, who spoke with Daily Trust on Thursday, insisted that they still buy 1GB of data for N1000.

FGN’s claim

The FGN had announced on Thursday that the price of data has been reduced by more than 50 percent following a directive that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should put in place measures to that effect.

The Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

A statement from the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, said the price of data of 1GB had been reduced from N1000 to N487, beginning from last November.

Pantami said it was in line with the directive he gave to NCC to put measures in place to reduce the average cost of data in the country.

The average cost of 1GB of data has reduced from the January 2020 cost of N1,000 to N487.18 in November, 2020, he said.

“This was based on a report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) submitted to the Honourable Minister following the implementation of the directives,” said the statement issued on his behalf by his Technical Assistant, Mr Femi Adeluyi, on Thursday in Abuja.

It said: “The Honourable Minister had inaugurated a Committee that developed the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) on the 16th of December, 2019.

“The Plan was unveiled and launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 19th of March, 2020.

“One of the goals of the Plan is to reduce the average cost of 1GB of data to a maximum of N390 by 2025.

“With the January 2020 baseline of N1,000 per GB, the maximum projected steady decrease for the end of each year was as follows: 2020 (N925), 2021 (N850), 2022 (N775), 2023 (N700), 2024 (N545) and 2025 (N390).

“In line with Dr Pantami’s commitment to under promise and over deliver, the measures have caused the current cost of data to reduce significantly beyond the December 2020 projection of N925.

“Based on the Report by NCC, the average cost of data as at November 2020 was N487.18, which amounts to 47.33% lower than the projected value.

“The Report also indicates that the cost of data in November 2020 was less than 50% of the cost of data in January 2020.”


Counter claim

However, telecom subscribers have said FG’s claim of 50% data cost reduction was not true as they still buy 1G at N1000.

Deji Eluobomi, an Ife-based subscriber, said it was not true that prices of data bundles had been reduced as he bought 1G data at N1000 Thursday morning.

“Probably, the directive or policy has not been accepted by the telecom operators.

“I still bought data, 1G at N1000 this morning. I don’t think this [claim of price slash] is true,” Eluobomi said.

Another subscriber, Muyiwa Ayinde Kareem, who is based in Lagos, also debunked claim of data cost reduction by 50%.

“I should be the first person to know if there was such reduction.

“I sell data and use it. There is no reduction of any kind,” he said.

Mukhtar Abdullahi, another subscriber in Sabongari, Kano, said he had not noticed any reduction in data cost.


‘Telcoms are robbers’

Meanwhile, the Senate said the telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria are “robbing” Nigerians of their hard earned money.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central), made the allegation during budget defense by Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

“The Telecommunications companies are robbing Nigerians of their hard earned money,” Oluremi said.

She said that senate would do everything possible to ensure that Nigerians using their services got value for their money.

Telcom operators’ position

But the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had said then that the FGN’s directive was dictatorial and could scared away investors from the country.

ALTON’s Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, had told our reporter in telephone interview that: “I don’t know how the government is going to achieve that (data reduction) in five days.

“Have they put into consideration the high cost of operating our businesses, and the very harsh operating environment we are in?

“Why are they trying to muzzle the NCC, and stampede it into doing what is unrealistic?

“Did they not know that operators don’t just sit down and fix tariffs; they, with NCC, rely on so many things before coming up with tariffs.

“We do not know under what circumstances the directive was given but we don’t know how that is going to be achieved to be honest with you.

“We have said several times that when policies interfere with commercial matters the industry will be jeopardised.

“Government needs to be careful not to whittle down the powers of the regulator.

“To arrive at prices, NCC normally conduct survey and research, and after all that, will benchmark the country’s tariffs based on what is obtained in other jurisdictions.”


Daily Trust reports that a survey released recently by Cable.co.uk, 10 of the top 50 cheapest countries in the world for mobile data are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Also, seven North African countries included appear higher up in the table than majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report includes data from 6,313 mobile data plans in 230 countries around the world between October 23 and November 28, 2018.

The average cost of one gigabyte of data was then calculated and compared to create a world wide mobile data pricing league table.

In Africa, which is the poorest continent by GDP per capita, countries in the southernmost part pay the most for 1GB at $7.19 for South Africa, $11.2 for Namibia and $14.12 for Botswana.

In West Africa, Nigeria’s 1GB can be obtained at $3.22, while in Chad it is $2.33, in Cameroon it is $1.71, in Ivory Coast it is $4.1, and in Niger it is $2.92.

In the North African region, Algeria’s 1GB goes for $5.15, Egypt is $1.49, Libya is $4.87 and in Sudan it is $0.6.

The survey said India has the world’s cheapest data plan at $0.10 for 1GB. It said in the US it is $12.37 while in the UK it goes for $6.66.

The global average of 1 GB data plan is $8.53.

Zimbabwe pays the highest price in the world with $75.20 per 1GB, followed closely by Equatorial Guinea with $65.83, Saint Helena with $55.47 and Djibouti with $37.92.

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