The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released new set of interconnection rates for voice services.
This can be seen as the desired response of many Nigerians, in line with complaints made over the high tariffs charged by these telecoms operators in the country.
The Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo told a news conference in Abuja that the new rates which takes effect from 1st April and will last for the next three years and will significantly favour subscribers.
The review, which will start from April 1, 2013, was agreed on after comprehensive consultations with various stakeholders, the NCC said in a statement on Thursday.
“The new termination rates, which significantly reviewed prices downwards, are informed by the depth of competition in the industry, while taking into consideration the position of new entrants and small operators,” the commission said in the statement.
According to NCC, the termination rates for voice services provided by new entrants and small operators in Nigeria irrespective of the originating network shall be N6.40 from April 1, 2013; N5.20 from April 1, 2014; and N3.90 from April 1, 2015.
The termination rates for voice services provided by other operators irrespective of the originating network shall be N4.90 from April 1, 2013; N4.40 from April 1, 2014; and N3.90 from April 1, 2015.
The current rate, which is symmetric to all operators, is N8.2.
For new entrants and small operators, the tariff drop will be by 21.95 per cent from April 1 this year, while for other operators, the drop will be by 40.2 per cent.
“This determination shall take effect from April 1, 2013, and remain valid and binding on licensees for the next three years until further reviewed by the commission,” the NCC maintained.
According to the NCC, a new entrant is a newly licensed operator entering an existing or new market within zero and three years, while a small operator, for the purpose of the determination, is an existing operator with a market share of zero to 7.5 per cent in terms of subscriber base.
It will be recalled that the current interconnection rate regulation was implemented through the NCC Interconnection Rate Determination issued on December 21, 2009. Since then, the Nigerian communications market has seen tremendous growth in both, subscriber numbers as well as traffic volumes and available technologies.
In June 2012, the commission appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC to undertake a cost study for voice interconnection.
In line with its commitment to a policy of openness, transparency, fairness, and participatory regulation, the commission informed stakeholders in July 2012 of its engagement of PwC to advise on the review of interconnection rates for mobile and fixed telephony services.
After series of meetings with operators and other stakeholders, PwC provided the commission with recommendations related to the regulation of voice interconnection.