The Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators
of Nigeria on Thursday informed consumers to expect
poor data services, without the review of the Data Tariff Floor.
The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo
, said in a statement in Lagos that there was the need for an upward review so as to offer better data services to subscribers.
Adebayo said that the operators fully understood the public sentiments that greeted the announcement of a minimum data tariff being introduced by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
He said that the NCC intervened to set the data tariff floor in view of its statutory responsibility to promote healthy competition
, by periodically reviewing voice and data tariffs in the industry.
According to him, the commission’s intervention is to ensure the sustainability of the Nigerian telecommunications industry. He also said that the regulatory body had extensive consultation with the industry prior to the finalisation of the data tariff floor.
The statement said: “Further, the commission has since Wednesday suspended the implementation of its determination on the data tariff floor.
“ALTON notes that it is within the statutory remit of the NCC for it to make decisive interventions to address the data price concerns which had led to data prices falling to unreasonably low levels.
“This is with the effect that telecommunications operators were unable to recover the cost of providing data services and reinvest in capacity expansion to accommodate the increased usage arising from lower tariffs.
“The situation has been compounded by the recent economic challenges characterised by the steep depreciation of the naira.
“It is characterised by the need to resort to the parallel market and foreign exchange scarcity, which have considerably increased the capital and operational cost of providing telecommunications services.
“This has made current data tariffs unsustainable.
“This situation, if left unaddressed, could result in a sustained deterioration in the quality of data services across all networks and the attendant poor quality of experience for users.
“In this regard, our members await the conclusion of NCC’s market study, when the commission will be in a position to determine its requisite intervention.”
Adebayo said that the NCC introduced the minimum price for data services to help ensure cost recovery and drive the continued investment in the telecommunications sector.
The ALTON chairman said it was necessary for the provision of world-class data services for the overall benefit of the Nigerian subscriber and the Nigerian economy.
He said: “It is our belief that interventions such as these are in keeping with the NCC’s tradition of implementing customer-centric regulatory initiatives such as the Do-Not-Disturb Service and the Mobile Number Portability Scheme.