New Telegraph

Group gives condition for 40% telecoms’ tariff increase

The National President, Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS), Prince Sina Bilesanmi, has said the proposed 40 per cent increase on data, call and SMS tariffs may be reviewed and effected if all stakeholders are gathered to fashion the modalities, insisting that the association would support the plan only if the condition is met.

 

Bilesanmi, in a chat with New Telegraph, warned that his association would be at war with ALTON if the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had approved the proposed tariffs. He claimed that the subscribers were not enjoying quality services from the operators, adding that the subscribers do not get value for their money.

 

It would be recalled that the association had earlier opposed the plan by the mobile network operators (MNOs) when the proposal was first made. ATCIS had warned mobile network operators to desist from their plan to increase data, call and SMS tariffs by 40 per cent.

Bilesanmi further noted that about 198 million subscribers would be affected with the planned tariff increase. The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, had cited the  increases in the cost of production, especially diesel, as basis for the proposed increase in tariffs.

 

According to Adebayo, his recommendation to NCC is that the telecoms operators demanded some regulatory instruments to be activated to give some relief to minimise or to mitigate against high cost of operation.

He said the main issue was for the regulator to see how to reduce the impact of the present economic condition on their business, which may risk consumer price increase.

Meanwhile, in a chat with New Telegraph, the ATCIS boss said his association was not really opposing the plan, emphasising that there should be discussion with the subscribers to agree on a favourable percentage.

 

“The N3.3 trillion contributed to the GPD by the telecom sector is contributed by the subscribers. Our stand is that we should all sit down and discuss, see the reason to increase the tariffs and see the percentage that will not affect both the subscribers and the operators. “We all know that the cost of production is rising everyday.

 

Looking at the way prices of diesel and other inputs are skyrocketing, we may align with the increase in tariffs. However, we insist that ALTON needs to invite the ATCIS and other stakeholders to work together on the strategy, otherwise, they may not get it right. We subscribers are the backbone of the operators, they need to carry us along before taking any decision concerning the tariffs.”

 

Bilesanmi said ATCIS would continue to partner with the  regulatory agency and other stakeholders while protecting the rights of the subscribers. “ATCIS is the leading masses advocacy body that promotes subscriber interests as well as defends subscribers’ rights while also promoting Network Services Providers through their products and services.

 

“We earlier rejected the tariff increase proposed by ALTON because there was no any stakeholders meeting. ATCIS has written government agency and put call to ALTON chief to sit together and have a round table discussion on the plan,” he said. Supporting ATCIS, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had said such decision must be fair to the subscribers and engender healthy competition among services providers.

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