The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC on Wednesday, announced the immediate suspension of the proposed data hike by mobile operators in the country.
NCC’s Public Affairs Director, Tony Ojobo, in a statement explains that the decision to suspend the directive was to allow for further consultation with the industry’s stakeholders and because of the general complaints by consumers across the country.
Mr. Ojobo said the Commission has already asked all operators to maintain the status quo until the conclusion of the study to determine retail prices for broadband and data services in the country.
The industry regulator had earlier directed telecom operators to commence charging the new floor price rate for data from December 1, which raised concerns among Nigerians about the impropriety of the decision by the government at such a time.
On November 1, the commission, after a consultative meeting on October 19, wrote to all mobile network operators in the country, on the need to determine an interim price floor for data services.
In the memo, the telecom sector regulator justified its decision to have a price floor, claiming it was primarily to promote a level playing field for all operators in the industry, encourage small operators and new entrants.
The commission said the decision was equally to save the smaller operators from predatory services likely to suffocate them and push them out of business into extinction, as well as to protect the consumers who are at the receiving end.
Several Nigerians accused the NCC of insensitivity, considering the high cost of living in the face of the current economic recession in the country.
In reaction, Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, on Wednesday, absolved the Federal Government of the controversial complicity in the bid by the NCC to increase the price consumers pay for data services, saying he did not authorize it.
Similarly, the Senate also condemned the planned tariff increment in totality and asked network providers to immediately stop implementation of the new tariff.