11 Years After, MTN, Airtel, Others Push For Tariff Hike
Yinka Olajoyetan, Lagos 
MTN, Airtel and other telecommunication operators in Nigeria on Wednesday said that their services are overdue for price increments as they have not implemented any upward price adjustment in the last 11 years.
The operators stated this in a joint statement by the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON). The two associations represent Mobile Network Operators and telecommunication companies in Nigeria.
According to them, the telecom industry is the only industry that has not reviewed its prices despite the rising inflation in the country and other economic realities that warrant increment. They blamed this on the regulatory restraints that have been preventing them from pricing appropriately.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) regulates prices in the telecom industry and telecom operators are not allowed to implement any price change without the regulator’s approval. The regulator has said a cost-based study is being conducted to determine if it would approve price increments for the operators.
In the statement signed by the Chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, and the President of ATCON, Engr. Tony Izuagbe Emoekpere, the telcos said: “ALTON and ATCON respectfully reiterate that telecommunications infrastructure development requires substantial investments in network expansion, maintenance, and technology upgrades.
“Despite the adverse economic headwinds, the telecommunications industry remains the only industry yet to review its general service pricing framework upward in the last 11 years, primarily due to regulatory constraints.
“For a fully liberalized and deregulated sector, the current price control mechanism, which is not aligned with economic realities, threatens the industry’s sustainability and can erode investors’ confidence.
“ATCON and ALTON call upon the government to facilitate a constructive dialogue with industry stakeholders to address pricing challenges and establish a framework that balances consumers’ affordability with operators’ financial viability.”
On oher challenges, the operators called upon the government to take decisive action in addressing the numerous challenges confronting the telecommunications industry. According to them, some of these challenges include the issue of multiple taxation and regulations and prohibitive Right of Way (RoW) charges, inadequate electric power supply, and vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure.
They also called for legislation that designates telecommunications infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure (“CNI”), while expressing concern over the escalating security threats facing telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria
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