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NCC denies hiking data price, says it only averted price war

Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), on Tuesday stated that the Commission did not at any time increase or instruct telecommunication companies in the country to hike price of data for users but intervened to avert price war and monopoly in Telecommunication.‎

The Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Danbatta spoke on behalf of the Commission while appearing before Senate Committee on Communication over data hike.

He said that NCC did was to introduce an interim price floor of 90 kobo per megabyte below which telecommunication companies are not allowed to sell.

This is a reduction from an initial price floor of N3:11k which was suspended in 2015, according to him.

Danbatta said the absence of price floor created a “price war” in the telecommunication sector which was becoming unhealthy for competition.

He said NCC as a regulatory agency could not just fold its arms and watch the situation degenerate.

It quickly had to move in with the interim price floor of 90k per data megabyte to protect the consumer and prevent the emergence of a powerful monopoly in the data sector.

In opening ‎ remarks, Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, who presided, noted that there was a public outcry over the proposed data price increase.

Adeola said that Nigerians were united in their opposition that the proposed increase in the price of data should be stopped.

He said that the position of Nigerians was that the idea of hike in data price was ill- advised especially with the biting economic situation in the country.‎

In its presentation, MTN Nigeria denied being behind the price war.

The company said it was willing to comply with NCC position but calls for a proper cost and price analysis against current inflation rate and devaluation of the Naira and the negative impact of OTT Operators like WhatsApp on players in the country.

Airtel and Etisalat expressed similar opinions promising to abide by NCC directive suspending the price floor.

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