It is about four days now since the Federal Government issued a directive to the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to ensure that the price of data across the country is slashed by more than 50%.
Despite this order delivered through Dr. Ibrahim Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, subscribers are lamenting that no new policy on this has been effected by any telecom firms. They noted that 1GB data is still sold for about N800 or more.
Taiye Ajijolaya told The Journal Nigeria that the price of data remained the same in spite of the directive. ‘I bought 9Mobile data recently, nothing has changed, it is still the same price and the same manageable service’, he said. Faith Ohioze, another subscriber based in Ketu, Lagos noted that for subscriptions under MTN and Airtel, it is still the normal service, and that nothing has changed.
However, Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant to the Minister, who explained that the decision involved painstaking thought and consultations, said that the directive was based on the Nigerian National Broadband Plan that was launched by President Mohammadu Buhari on the 19th of March 2020.
He also noted that the committee that came up with the decisions in the plan where made up of stakeholders in the industry including the Nigerian Communications Commissions who helped formulate the plan with its report on the average cost of data from telecom brands. He stated that ‘the main goal of the Plan is to reduce the average cost of 1GB of data to a maximum of N390 by 2025.’ Adeluyi projected that based on the National Plan, undoubtedly there will be a steady reduction of prices of data.
Surprisingly major telecom companies seem not to have welcomed the directive with any signs of comprehensive compliance, though some have created packages that may excite Nigerians during the Yuletide. Globacom, for instance, has slashed its international call tariff by 55% to allow for international calls so that Nigerians can communicate with their family and friends across international lines during the yuletide.
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In the same vein, MTN has rejuvenated the Pulse Package which gives MTN subscribers 1.5GB weekly at the cost of N500. Only eligible Airtel Subscribers will have access to the Win Back offer, which affords them N6000 worth of airtime and 1GB. Interestingly none of the major telecom companies has issued a statement on their official websites indicating its readiness to comply to government’s directive.