NATCOMS Knock NCC over Interconnect Rate in Nigeria

Telecoms

National Association of Telecommunication Subscribers (NATCOMS) of Nigeria has described the recent interconnect rates arrived at through asymmetric method by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as a rip-off strategy against telecoms subscribers in the country.

NATCOMS said the interconnect rates is not in the interest of the subscribers as claimed by NCC saying the previous moves by the regulatory body to make Nigerians believe its care about price control have always been deceitful thereby leaving the subscribers at the mercy of the telecoms operators. As a result of the development, NATCOMS has slated its congress for Monday to educate its members on the new call rates in Lagos.

The NCC had graduated the call rate from N10.20k with effect from December 31st 2009 to N8.20K in 2012 and stated that the move may reduce the tariff paid by telecommunications subscribers by 50% starting from January first this year. The body also anticipated that the new interconnect rates may force down call rate especially for mature operators to as low as N15 per minute.

NCC listed the interconnect rates for mobile voice as follows; N10.12k for Dec 31, 2009, N9.48k for December 31st, 2010, N8.84k for December 2011 and N8.20K for December 31st, 2012, while the Service Messaging Services (SMS) rates was pegged at N1.94 from December 31st 2009, N1.63k from December 2010, N1.32k from December 2011 and N1.02k from December 2012 respectively.

But NATCOMS was quick to advise the NCC to stop chasing shadows and instead take a decisive step that would lead to real reduction in tariff charged by the telecoms operators by reducing the price cap as stipulated through the price cap regime.

The president of the association Chief Deolu Ogunbawo in an interview with Daily Independent said what NCC should have done was to reduce the price cap pegged at N50 to N30 or N25 so as to favour Nigerians.

According to him, if this is done "automatically without going into confusing telecoms arithmetics, the on-net call rate would fall to as low as N11K- N15k while the off-net call would also be within the range of N2O-25k irrespective of the originating network. Operators are already at logger heads over the asymmetric method adopted by the NCC. Ogunbanjo noted that since 2006 when the NCC pegged the call rate at N11.55k, no telecoms operator charges less than of N36 per minute on net-calls and N42-44 on off-net calls.

Daily Independent

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