GSM interconnection rates: Telecoms subscribers battle NCC
TheNewsGuru reported a stakeholders’ forum convened by the NCC to receive a report on Cost Based Study for the determination of mobile voice termination rate for Nigerian telecoms industry from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
TheNewsGuru analyzed that reports presented by PwC so far, do not favour a downward review of interconnection rates; that the NCC might end up hiking interconnection rates if it follows the objectives of the PwC reports.
Although, the NCC has refuted the possibility of hiking interconnection rates, telecoms subscribers have weighed-in into the arguments battling the NCC not to hike interconnection rates.
Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), said the review of interconnection rates was not necessary, given the present economic situation of the country.
“I don’t think this is the right time to do any upward review. Government and its agencies should be sensitive to the plight of the people. Government should understand that we are in recession and it is affecting every pocket; so, it is not a right time of increasing telecommunications tariffs,” the NATCOMS president added.
Interconnection or termination rates are the charges which one telecommunications operator charges the other, for terminating calls on its network. The 2013 rates, which took effect from April 1, 2013, has major operators terminating calls on new entrants/smaller operators’ networks at N6.40, while the smaller operators do same on major operators’ networks at N4.90.
Chief Ogunbanjo said that instead of reviewing the rates upward, the regulatory body should consider a downward review. He said that the telecommunications umpire should look at bringing down the price cap of N50 per minute to N20 per minute, since the cap had been on since 2001. According to him, data tariff, voice tariff and other communication services should be reviewed downwards.
“NCC is not in the habit of reviewing downward; however, downward review will be a welcome development in view of the present economic situation,” Chief Ogunbajo said.