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Telecom operators in Nigeria say price increment overdue after 11 years

Telecommunication operators in Nigeria have said that their services are overdue for price increments as they have not implemented any upward price adjustment in the last 11 years.

The operators stated this in a joint statement by the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON). The two associations represent Mobile Network Operators and telecommunication companies in Nigeria.

According to them, the telecom industry is the only industry that has not reviewed its prices despite the rising inflation in the country and other economic realities that warrant increment. They blamed this on the regulatory restraints that have been preventing them from pricing appropriately.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) regulates prices in the telecom industry and telecom operators are not allowed to implement any price change without the regulator’s approval. The regulator has said a cost-based study is being conducted to determine if it would approve price increments for the operators.

In the statement signed by the Chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, and the President of ATCON, Engr. Tony Izuagbe Emoekpere, the telcos said:

The operators called upon the government to take decisive action in addressing the numerous challenges confronting the telecommunications industry. According to them, some of these challenges include the issue of multiple taxation and regulations and prohibitive Right of Way (RoW) charges, inadequate electric power supply, and vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure.

They also called for legislation that designates telecommunications infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure (“CNI”), while expressing concern over the escalating security threats facing telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria.

In addition, ALTON and ATCON also called for the sustenance of a culture of independence in the regulatory landscape to safeguard against undue influence and unwholesome incursion into the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) domain, which will inspire trust in the telecommunications sector and encourage investment.

According to them, regulatory neutrality and independence are crucial to ensuring a thriving telecommunications sector. They added that statutory provisions lend credence to this notion, as a lack of an impartial regulator will lead to a failure to maintain public confidence in the objectivity and independence of its decisions.