Despite the public outrage that greeted the plans by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to increase the price of data – and subsequently forced it to rescind its decision – the commission has once again defended its stance on the matter.
The Commission on Friday revealed that the planned increase in data tariff by telecom operators was to create competition in the sector.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ismail Adedigba, NCC Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, said the decision to increase data tariff was to prevent the sector from becoming a monopoly whereby one service provider would be charging consumers arbitrary prices for data services.
Mr. Adedigba, who spoke on the side line of the commission’s 81st “Consumer Outreach Programme” in Osogbo, noted that competition would afford telecom consumers to make choices for better service.
He said: “We don’t want monopoly, because if we allow anybody to charge any price, some big operators can charge lower price and take all customers to their network at the expense of new entrants.
“Nothing is free or easy because once consumers take the bait of rushing to networks offering cheaper and lower data tariff, competition would be eliminated.
“The effect is that once big operators know that the new entrants have failed, they will now increase their own price, knowing there is no competition.
“The consumers will now have no choice when the tariff is increased, as the new entrants must have been crippled and left the market for big operators.’’
The NCC official added that the competition is better than killing one segment of the telecom market by predatory pricing.
Mr. Adedigba said that the data tariff price increment implementation remained suspended for now, due to the outcry of stakeholders, especially the consumers.