Stakeholders in the telecommunication sector have called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to revisit the data floor price determination in order to save and encourage small operators in the sector.
In the last three months, quality of data service and voice calls have become so miserable in the country with telecommunication operators attributing it to unfavourable economic policies and operational challenges.
According to some of the operators who spoke with National Daily, the refusal of regulators to establish a data floor for operators to enable players operate profitability has led to a lot of anti-competitive behavior in the market, thereby affecting quality of data service.
Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said the botched data floor price determination was meant for small operators not for big operators who will still survive with the present situation.
“We are trying to avoid a situation where CDMA operators died because of price war. If data price is determined, it will encourage small operators in the sector. We need to look at it beyond public sentiment and emotions around it and revisit the issue for the growth of the industry,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of Spectranet, David Venn, said the since the botched data floor policy of the Nigerian Communications Commission, it has become difficult for ISPs and Telcos delivering internet service to operate profitably.
Providing another perspective to the issue, Tenu Awoonor, Director Strategy and performance Management at Airtel, a Tier I player, said there is a misconception which must be corrected.
“Reinstating the data price floor will not necessarily make broadband more expensive, rather it will help with penetration. We need better pricing to help ensure that operators stay afloat.”
Olushola Teniola, President of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) harped on the data price floor issue and said that “Without a review of the data services provisioning market structure, there is a serious risk of market failure with the resultant ripple effect.
He said with inflation at 17%, input costs at a per unit per Mb level, that retail data prices available on the market are unsustainable even with economies of scale, hence a serious distortion exists that needs immediate regulatory intervention.