This Day (Lagos)

6 February 2013

Nigeria: Telcos Comply With Directive On Text Charges

Indications emerged Tuesday that telecommunications ope-rators in the country have complied with the directive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the Short Message Service (SMS), otherwise known as texts, cost reduction charge across networks.

THISDAY investigations showed that all GSM operators yesterday commenced the application of text charges at N4 per SMS for all off-net SMSs, as against N10 that was previously charged, translating to a 60 per cent reduction in cost.

NCC had last month, set a new price cap for text charges across networks. According to the directive, the new price cap, which is N4.00 per SMS for all domestic off-net SMSs must take effect from February 5, 2013.

As at yesterday, THISDAY confirmed that all the GSM operators had complied with the NCC directive.

Asked to what extent the directive on the new charge on texts would affect the revenue of operators, General Manager, Corporate Services for MTN, Mrs. Funmi Omogbenigun, declined comment, but said that MTN had to comply with NCC's directive on the cost reduction.

The directive was communicated to the operators on January 3.

The Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of NCC, Ms. Josephine Amuwa, who signed the directive, explained that the commission would not place a price cap on international texts at this time.

According to her, NCC arrived at the new price cap after due considerations of the submissions made by the operators at various consultative meetings.

"Having evaluated and analysed SMS traffic information provided by the operators, the commission noted that there was a general recognition that the cost of SMS is too high, especially in view of the interconnection rate of N1.02 for SMS as determined by the commission in 2009,"Amuwa said.

She had insisted that NCC would monitor compliance by the operators, and noted that failure to comply with the determination would be penalised as provided by section 111 of the NCA 2003.

Some subscribers who spoke with THISDAY on the cost reduction, hailed the NCC for its directive, as well as the operators for complying.

"This is a good development in the telecoms sector and we need more of it," Azuka Philip, a Globacom subscriber said.

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