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Subscribers reject planned hike in telecoms services tariffs

By Adeyemi Adepetun
05 May 2022   |   3:44 am
Telecommunications service subscribers have opposed the planned increase in the cost of voice calls, short message services (SMS) and data services in the country.

Telecommunications service subscribers have opposed the planned increase in the cost of voice calls, short message services (SMS) and data services in the country.

They claimed the economic hardship, including steep inflation rise, has shrunk disposable incomes significantly making the planned tariff hike ill-timed.

The telecom operators under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), have written to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) about the possible tariff review.

ALTON, while citing a rise in energy cost, impact of insecurity and other operating challenges in the country on their operations, claimed they are left with no choice but to increase tariffs unless the situation improves.

The body made its plan known in a letter addressed to the leadership of the NCC. The letter was dated April 25, 2022, but received and acknowledged by the NCC on April 27, 2022.

Telecom companies proposed a 40 per cent increase in the cost of calls, SMS, and data to the NCC as a result of the rising cost of business operations.

Based on their proposal, the price floor of calls will increase from N6.4 to N8.95 while the price cap of SMS will increase from N4 to N5.61.

The letter, which was signed by the Chairman and Head of Operations, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga respectively, said the challenges have impacted their operations significantly.

But the president of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMs), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, in a chat with The Guardian, yesterday, said telcos should not increase tariffs because subscribers are passing through a lot of challenges now.

Ogunbanjo said the operators should hold the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Pantami, and the NCC responsible for the drop in their revenues.

“The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, and I were at a television programme, last month, where he denied any planned hike in service tariffs.