Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has released a new interconnect rate that would guide telecom operators in the country on terminating calls for one another.
The new rate apparently became necessary after the expiration date of December 2012 for the old interconnect rate regime, which came into operation in 2009.
The new rate, which will begin from April 1, 2013 according to NCC, will see major operators terminating calls on new entrants/ smaller operators' networks at N6.40, while the smaller operators do same on major operators' network at N4.90.
It also reviewed the respective rates further downwards for the next three years ending 2015.
NCC said it took the step to enable small operators and new entrants remain in business. It described a new entrant as newly-licensed operator entering an existing or new market within 0 to 3 years.
It also said that for the purpose of determination, small operator could be defined as an existing operator with a market share of 0 - 7.5% in terms of subscriber base.
The current rate, which has attracted several hues and cries from smaller operators since it came into operation, was fixed at a uniform N8.20 per minute.
Interconnect rate represents the cost of terminating a call on another network. In other words, it is the rate that a network operator that originates a call pays to the operator on whose network the call is terminated.
The interconnect rate is important in telecommunications because it helps in defining tariffs for calls that involve at least two networks.