NCC moves to increase international call tariff

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has concluded the process for determining the cost-based price of Mobile International Termination Rate (ITR) and may soon approve an increase in ITR for telecom operators in the country.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said at the final Stakeholders’ Forum for the presentation of the study on cost-based pricing of mobile ITR in Abuja that the current international rates did not favour Nigerian telecom operators and the country.

“Arising from these is the persistent fact that Nigeria’s ITR is below that of most countries with which it makes and receives the most calls, making Nigerian operators perpetual net payers.

“The obvious implication of this is seen in the attendant undue pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves, which continue to get depleted by associated net transfers to foreign operators on account of this lopsidedness,” Danbatta said in a statement on Thursday.

The NCC boss further stated that regulating the ITR is imperative for developing countries, such as Nigeria, with volatile currencies in order to prevent or mitigate the imbalance of payments with international operators.

According to Daily Trust, he also said the commission was faced with the challenge of arriving at a rate that will balance the competing objectives of economic efficiency while, at the same time, allowing operators the latitude to generate reasonable revenues.

He informed the forum that “where ITR is not regulated, it tends to converge to the Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) and for a market like Nigeria with major supply-side challenges, the socio-economic implications, and attendant backlash can only be imagined.”

Danbatta said that the “overriding need for regulatory options and intervention in relation to the international termination rate in the voice market segment is predicated on some intractable challenges, most common with economies with severe macroeconomic volatility such as ours.”