Nigerians can now heave a sigh of relief as the NCC has decided to suspend its directive to implement a new data price floor which would have increased data prices in the country.

The decision was communicated in a statement signed by the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo. He maintains that the decision was taken after consultation with industry stakeholders and following complaints by consumers in the country. The commission directed all operators to maintain status quo until the study alluded to in the earlier directive is concluded.

The NCC as a responsive agency of government takes into consideration the feelings of the consumers and so decided to suspend the new price floor.

This is a clear message from the NCC that the Senate’s resolution that the NCC should stop the proposed hike, arrived upon during plenary this afternoon, had nothing to do with its decision.

The commission reiterated that the decision to introduce the 0.90k/MB price floor was taken in order to protect consumers “who are at the receiving end” and also shield smaller operators from predatory services likely to stifle them. It also reminded us that the price floor withdrawn in 2015 was 3.11k/MB but the now suspended one was just 0.90k/MB.

The price floor is not an increase in price but a regulatory safeguard put in place by the telecommunications regulator to check anti-competitive practices by dominant operators.

The statement also clarified insinuation in some quarters that the NCC had fixed prices for data services, explaining that the commission only “provides regulatory guidelines to protect the consumers, deepen investments and safeguard the industry from imminent collapse.”

The regulatory body concluded by sharing some data to give customers an overview of data prices in the country. Before the now suspended price floor, industry average for the four largest mobile operators in the country was 0.53k/MB while the average for smaller operators and new entrants – Smile, Spectranet and Ntel- was 0.71k/MB.

Everybody is to return to status quo and we can all rest easy that come December 1, 2016, data prices will not be increased.

Whenever anybody says that social media does not solve anything, please point them to this fine example where the voice of the people reigned supreme.

Mobisola Atolagbe Author

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