Two of the biggest telecommunications networks in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Nigeria, have increased the prices for their internet data services by about 10 percent.

Both companies made the announcement of the increase on their verified Twitter pages after Customers started noticing the changes from around September 28 2022.

Why the data price increase?

Telecommunications companies under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria had initially proposed a 40 percent increase in the cost of calls, SMS, and data. This, they said, was as a result of rising inflation and the naira spiraling downwards versus the dollar on the black market, which has made 2022 a difficult year for telecommunication companies. The cost of diesel and difficulties obtaining dollars for its services were also some of the challenges recently highlighted by the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria.

They stated this in a letter to the Nigerian Communications Commission, which read, “Given the state of the economy and the circa 40 per cent increase in the cost of doing business, we wish to request for an interim administrative review of the mobile (voice) termination rate for voice; administrative data floor price, and cost of SMS as reflected in extant instruments.”

However, the NCC responded that there was a need to follow certain processes before an increase can be implemented.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami

During the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Committee on Excise Duty for the Digital Economy Sector held in Abuja, September 2022, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said that with the increase in operating costs due to inflation and rising diesel, among others, there were more than 15 attempts to increase the price of telecommunication services within three years, which he kicked against.

The minister also noted, “In spite of the contributions and achievements of the sector, we have been recording some challenges coming up from time to time that if care is not taken these challenges could be a barrier to the development of this sector in the next few years to come. One of them is the issue of excessive taxation and sometimes, multiple taxations in the sector.”

Story: Ene Ken-Yawe