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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Finally, Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu Speaks on Data Price Hike by Telecoms Companies

The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu has denied knowledge of an increase in data tariff by the Nigerian Communications Commission. The NCC raised the data floor price for telcos on Tuesday effective December 1, forcing mobile telecommunications operators to drive up the price of data.

Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu

Speaking on the Fact File on Raypower FM on Wednesday, November 30, Shittu said he was not involved in the decision as the news came to him as a surprise.

“There are reasons for what they have done, the reasons I’m sure will not be political, the reason will be more of logistics and all of that and as you have requested me to do I will do that.

“But I want to say that I was not privy to it, I was not party to it, government never gave any such instruction and the government as the representative of the people never have done that – that the voice of Nigerians must be muscled,” he said.

He however assured that Nigerians won’t be held hostage by the telecoms mafia.

“This government came into the democratic process and it has a duty to continue to protect the interest of Nigerians and I can assure you, we will do that and we will do the needful in protecting the rights and privileges of Nigerians.

“Held hostage by a mafia in the telecoms industry and unsolicited text messages and there no sanctions.

“About 6 months ago I had cause to invite all the telecom operators and virtually read the riot act to them. If that has not been done I can assure you it will be done, we are concerned about the interest of Nigerians.

“We are concerned that Nigerians should not be taken for ride as the Minister of communications I’m also a victim just like every other Nigerians I also suffer the same fate as telecom operators, so let me assure you that we will redouble our efforts to curtail the excesses of the telecom operators,” he said.

It would be recalled that the NCC had directed mobile operators to initiate a new data tariff regime from December 1, 2016 in what is effectively a price increase.

This was contained in a letter to mobile operators dated November 1, the regulator stated that the interim floor price for data services was 0.90k/MB for big operators, and that “this rate will subsist pending the finalisation of the study on the determination of cost based pricing for retail broadband and data services in Nigeria”.

“In order to provide a level playing field for all operators in the industry, small operators and new entrants to acquire market share and operate profitably small operators and new entrants are hereby exempted for the price floor for data services,” it said.

“For the avoidance of doubt a small operator is one that has less than 7.5 percent market share and a new entrant is an operator that has operated less than three years in the market.

“All operators are to ensure that subscribers are not automatically migrated to pay-as-you-go platform.

“Also, note that effective date for the interim price floor is December 1, 2016.”

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