GSM Subscribers To Pay More For Data From Dec.1
Subscribers of the Global System of Mobile telecommunications across the country would pay more for data with effect from December 1, 2016, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.
Although the telecoms companies declined to speak on the matter, top management workers across the networks confirmed the story to our correspondent, saying that the directive was from the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior management employee of Etisalat Nigeria said,
“The NCC issued the directive late last week on the orders of the Federal Government. We have not announced it yet because most of the major telcos have been meeting the NCC on how to reverse this policy, because it will be too harsh for Nigerians.
“However, we further gathered that the Federal Government took the decision having discovered that data rates are very low-priced in Nigeria, compared to other countries, including nearby African countries.
“The government might have also taken the decision given that Nigerian subscribers have been kicking against the proposed nine per cent Communication Tax, whose bill is currently in the National Assembly.”
Pleading not to be mentioned, an employee of MTN said,
“What this means is that MTN, Airtel, Etisalat And Globacom will increase their data rates as from December 1, 2016. A data plan of N1,000 for 1.5 Gigabytes will now be increased to N3,000 at N1,000 per 500 Megabytes.”
In text messages sent out to its subscribers, MTN, Africa’s mobile telecommunications giant, confirmed that it had agreed to implement the directive of the NCC.
The MTN text read, “Dear customer, please be informed that from 1st of December, some MTN data tariffs will be increased to reflect the new rates set by the NCC for operators. Thank you.”
The PUNCH could not obtain an official response from the NCC at of the time of filing this report.
However, a representative of the commission said that the telecoms regulator was unaware of such plans by the operators, even as she said her bosses had claimed ignorance of the circulated message.
“We are unaware of it. I just asked my bosses; they are unaware. We will forward your query to MTN for appropriate attention,” she said over the telephone.
However, in a letter by the NCC to the operators sighted by Punch, the commission stated,
“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.
“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.”