Nigerians to pay more for calls as telcos move to raise tariffs

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Telecommunications companies (telcos) operating in Nigeria notably Glo, MTN, Airtel and 9Mobile have initiated moves to increase tariffs. The telcos are asking the federal government to facilitate constructive dialogue in the industry, with regards to pricing of their services.

According to the telcos, the current price control mechanism is not in tandem with the economic realities, thus seeking the government’s intervention in order to address pricing challenges. The four telecommunications giants said they were the only ones that have not reviewed their prices which threaten the industry’s sustainability and possibly erodes investors’ confidence.

They made this known in a joint statement by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) on Thursday.

According to the statement signed by ALTON Chairman, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, and ATCON President, Mr Tony Emoekpere, there has not been a general service pricing framework upward in the past 11 years.

They attributed the non-increment to regulatory constraints despite the adverse economic hardship.

They said: “For a fully liberalised and deregulated sector, the current price control mechanism, which is not aligned with economic realities, threatens the industry’s sustainability and can erode investors’ confidence.

“Despite the adverse economic headwinds, the telecommunications industry remains the only industry yet to review its general service pricing framework upward in the last 11 years, primarily due to regulatory constraints.

“Government needs to facilitate a constructive dialogue with industry stakeholders to address pricing challenges and establish a framework that balances consumers’ affordability with operators’ financial viability.”

The telcos also expressed concerns on the worsening security challenges affecting the productivity of the services provided, urging the federal government erect measures to tackle the menace.

“Telecom infrastructure undisputedly plays a pivotal role in Nigeria’s national security and socioeconomic growth, especially as the country currently contends with multiple security challenges that require urgent and immediate actions in response to these threats.

“Attacks on cell towers, fibre optic cables, and other critical assets disrupt telecommunications services and result in significant financial losses for operators. We urge the government to prioritise the security of telecommunications infrastructure and collaborate with law enforcement agencies to enhance protection measures and combat vandalism and sabotage effectively.

“The industry also requires substantial investments in network expansion, maintenance, and technology upgrades,” they said.

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