The senate has asked the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) to immediately halt the proposed increase in data tariffs.
In a letter to the big operators, the commission had directed that the floor plan for data should be 0.90k/MB effective December 1, 2016 “pending the finalisation of the study on the determination of cost¬based pricing for retail broadband and data services in Nigeria”. As virtually all the big operators were already charging below the new floor rate, the directive meant an automatic increase in charges for data services.
However, small operators and new entrants in the data market, such as Spectranet, Ntel and Smile, are still allowed to charge below 0.90k/MB. On Wednesday, the senate deliberated on a motion by Bala N’ Allah, senate deputy leader, and condemned the planned data tariff hike. It, therefore, directed the NCC to halt the policy.
Speaking on the motion, Senate President Bukola Saraki flayed the NCC for not doing enough consultation before initiating the policy. He also asked the committee on communication to investigate allegations of non¬compliance to regulations against mobile operators.
After NCC issued the directive, MTN sent messages to its customers stating that there would be an increase in its data tariffs on December 1. The message read: “Dear customer, please be informed that from December 1, some MTN data tariffs will be increased to reflect the new rates set by the NCC to operators.”