The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in its recent industry review, noted that phone calls between MTN customers cost three times lower than calls to other networks, fearing that, “This is indicative of the likely establishment of a calling club for MTN subscribers.”
MTN Nigeria which has about 44 per cent of the market share, must cut the difference in price by collapsing on/off net calls and face further scrutiny to ensure the telecoms landscape is made competitive for all the other operators, the NCC insisted.
Consequently, NCC moved to provide a level playing round for all telecoms operators and directed the dominant operator to, among others, “Collapse of On net and Off net Retail Tariffs: The differential between the on–net and off net retail tariffs will be immediately collapsed. The tariff for on net and off net will be the same, and subject to periodic review.”
However, MTN says it has not implemented the directive issued to it by the Commission because it does not want to hurt its subscribers. It said it wants to execute the regulators’ directive in a manner that will not negatively affect its customers.
It was also gathered from reporters that the General Manager, Public Affairs, MTN, Funmi Omogbenigun said it is the duty of the NCC to approve tariff structure, arguing that the company was still in talks with the regulator with a view to arriving at a mutually acceptable modus operandi and modus vivendi to implement the directive.
“By law, NCC must approve tariffs; as such we are currently in discussion with the NCC. We are also discussing the issue of implementation with the NCC, to ensure that their direction is implemented in a manner that causes the least possible negative impact on our customers, if any,” she said.
According to her, the tariff charged by the telco on its on/off net tariffs remains extremely competitive when compared with what other operators charge in the market.
“With respect to the other comments in your enquiry regarding MTN tariffs our response is that the differential between our on/off net tariff is extremely competitive compared with other operators. Indeed the differential between on/off net tariffs for one network is as much as 1000%,” the general manager added.
“The Commission has resolved that the Dominant Operator (MTN) in the mobile voice market shall be required to adhere to the following obligations:
“Accounting Separation: The Commission will immediately enforce and implement Accounting Separation on the dominant operator.
”Submission of Required Details: The Commission may require the dominant operator to submit details on specific aspects of its operations from time to time as the need arises.”
The NCC added that it shall make a determination of pricing principle to address the rate charges for on-net and off-net calls for all other operators.
On the Dominate operatorship in the ‘Wholesale Leased Lines and Transmission’ which Globacom shared with MTN, NCC said it will impose price cap/price floor for wholesale services and price floor for retail services which shall be subject to periodic review, adding it will also “immediately enforce and implement accounting separation on the joint dominant operator.”