The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, commenced a holistic review of the Mobile Voice Termination Rate for the Nigerian telecom industry.
According to the commission, a sound and functional interconnection regime is an essential step in the process of fine tuning the regulatory regime and leading the Nigerian Telecommunications market towards full competition and effective regulation.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ forum on cost-based study, Prof. Umar Dambatta Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, , said it was imperative for the commission and the Nigerian telecom industry to review the rate set in 2013, in line with current market realities.
He underscored the importance of recognizing the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, which requires network facilities and services providers to provide other licensees with interconnection on request at any technically feasible location.
“You will recall the Commission carried out an in-depth cost study and made a Determination on the Interconnection Rates for Voice Services which took effect from April 1, 2013.
Since the last Determination, the Nigerian Communications Market has witnessed tremendous growth in both, subscriber numbers as well as traffic volumes”, he said.
He said changes in available technologies (2G, 2.5G 3G, and 4G) and other network elements, including global financial markets which have an impact over inputs such as the cost of capital.
He maintained that the scale of changes will inevitably affect the unit cost of providing services including interconnection and may lead to differences between regulated interconnection rates and underlying costs which in turn may result in differences between on-net and off-net retail tariffs.
“It is very important we ensure that interconnection services are not only fairly priced and non-discriminative but should reflect the cost of providing such services in the market.
It is in this regard that the Commission has decided to review the rates set in its 2013 Determination in the light of current market realities”.
Meanwhile, the study also provides the opportunity to thoroughly examine the emergence of grey market activities in the telecoms industry in Nigeria such as call refiling, call masking, and sim-box fraud as a result of the introduction of an interim International Termination Rate (ITR) for inbound international traffic.
He therefore called on consultant to the Industry Stakeholders to kick – start the project, noting that the supply of industry statistical data is most critical to the success of determining appropriate interconnection termination rates for the Telecommunications Industry.
He assured stakeholders that the Commission has an obligation to create a level playing field for all operators, and in line with international standard practice, NCC shall ensure that interconnect rates reflect the cost of termination on the networks.
Continuing, NCC boss called on industry stakeholders to give their maximum cooperation considering the fact that cost study is not only timely but very necessary
“I solicit your assistance, your understanding and cooperation in providing relevant statistical data to help deliver on the expected objectives of this project”, he concluded.