Yesterday, the Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu, asked Nigerians to be prepared for an impending data price hike.
His statement came up after a committee was set up to investigate the proposed data tariff hike, some of the committee members include Senator Solomon Adeola who noted the public outcry over the proposed data price hike. However, NCC Executive Vice Chairman Prof. Umar Dambatta told the committee that NCC’s intervention was not designed to undermine consumers, but to protect the Nigerian consumer from unhealthy price war and also create a balance between big and small operators. In his words:
“We wanted to protect the Nigerian consumer from the unhealthy price war in what may lead to a monopoly that may lead us to the days of NITEL. We did not increase any price, but merely provided a regulatory standard to protect small telecom operators.”
“We said in the interim directive measure that no operator should sell below 90k per megabyte. There was a price war in the market; that was why we issued the interim directive.
“A situation where a dominant operator provides services far below what is obtainable in the sector in order to attract more customers may lead to a situation where smaller operators will be forced to shut down.
He believes, that if the situation arose where the smaller operators could no longer cope, the consequences could be better imagined. Dambatta said the need to avert a crisis in the industry informed the decision to introduce an interim price floor for data services at N0.90k per BM.
So, what next?
NCC will conduct an extensive research to come up with a price floor that would be acceptable to Nigerians.
No words on when this “extensive research” will be concluded.