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Subscribers kick as telcos seek FG’s nod to increase tariffs

Telecommunications services’ subscribers may soon start paying higher for calls and data as operators “earnestly” seek the federal government’s nod to increase telecom tariffs in…

Telecommunications services’ subscribers may soon start paying higher for calls and data as operators “earnestly” seek the federal government’s nod to increase telecom tariffs in the country.

If the telcos’ request is granted by FG, Nigerians will pay between 10 and 15 per cent more than the current tariffs, sources at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy told our reporter in confidence.

The telecom operators had been “Pleading with the government since November to approve their request to alter upward the current call and data tariffs, but don’t want them to do that until things normalise in the New Year”, a source at the ministry told Daily Trust on Thursday.

Asked to clarify on “until things normalise” statement, the source alluded to when the 2024 budget becomes operational and works start in earnest.

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The source said there were still “Ongoing considerations and discussions to see how the increase will not affect poor Nigerians too much”.

NCC’s spokesman, Mr Reuben Mouka was not available for comment when our reporter called his line. A message sent to him was also not responded to.

But the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Dr Aminu Maida had hinted in December that telecom operators were seeking approval to increase tariffs.

Maida told executives of Nigerian Association of Information Technology Reporters (NITRA) in his office that the government would not accede to telcos’ request for tariff review until the network was improved.   

The Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr Gbenga Adebayo did not answer calls made to his mobile line. He also did not respond to a message sent to him as of the time of filling this story.

Daily Trust reports that despite high inflation rates, telecom companies have not adjusted their prices for years. But the telcos have reduced their data value, according to many of their customers. 

Speaking with Daily Trust on phone, the President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo said the association would resist any attempt by telcos to review tariffs upward.

“Telecom services are poor Nigerians’ lifeline, any attempt to increase tariffs now will amount to killing Nigerians economically, and will resist it with all legal means”, Ogunbanjo said.

He claimed telcos have nothing to justify any increment as the government has already looked into their complaints of high duties, forex scarcity and others.

Daily Trust reports that telecommunications companies in Egypt had in December 2023 increased the prices of mobile recharge cards and selected prepaid plans by 15 per cent.

 

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