Nigerians may pay more for calls, data as telcos consider tariff hike

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April 26, 2024
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2 min read
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  • In response to economic challenges, telecom operators in Nigeria are considering raising the prices of their services, including voice calls and data. 
  • This comes on the heels of telecoms' record losses in 2023. MTN Nigeria reported a post-tax loss of ₦135 billion ($101 million) due to the naira devaluation, while Airtel's revenue decreased by 21.96% to $1.24 billion. 
  • According to the Association of Licenced Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), "Despite the adverse economic headwinds, the telecommunications industry remains the only industry that has yet to review its general service pricing framework upward in the last 11 years, primarily due to regulatory constraints."

The association maintained that the current price control mechanism is out of sync with economic realities, threatening the industry's viability and potentially undermining investor confidence. 

“Government needs to facilitate a constructive dialogue with industry stakeholders to address pricing challenges and establish a framework that balances consumers’ affordability with operators’ financial viability,” ALTON expressed. 

Recently, the association has consistently pushed for tariff increases. In November 2023, Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), warned that the country's telecom sector may not survive if current tariffs are not adjusted. 

He stated that telecom operators face higher taxes and levies, which have increased from 41 to 52. He also said that multiple taxes continue to affect the industry. Despite the operator's efforts to raise the issue with the government, it received little or no attention.

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Moreover, in 2023, MTN and Airtel lost ₦27 billion due to cable vandalism. Consequently, the government is developing a new regulation to protect telecom infrastructure and impose severe penalties on offenders.  

As the country contends with an economic downturn, prices of goods and services have been on the high side. On April 3, 2024, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) directed an immediate upward review of electricity tariffs. Also on April 25, Multichoice Nigeria increased DStv and GOtv prices. 


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