Mobile Network Operators which include Orange – SL, Africell and Quicell have on Friday 2nd December 2022 had a Consultative engagement with key stakeholders in what was described as Public Private Dialogue (PBD) on the need for a review on the cost of tariff across these Network Service Providers.
This, according to them, came against the backdrop of the unprecedented hike in dollar exchange rate in the nation which has had significant adverse effect on their operations drive as Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) such as what they spend in building new network sites, paying of huge capacity of staff, cost of fuel and their usual gesture in the form of Corporate Service Responsibilities (CSR) among other things.
These critical stakeholders included Operators, Consumers and Regulators.
The Director General of the National Telecommunications Authority (NaTcA), Daniel Bobson Kaitibi, said that while they understandably empathise with the MNOs, but the proposal would have to be critically looked into for further recommendation adding that even if an increment in the cost for tariff would have to set in, let it be minimal so as to make their networks not only accessible but also be made affordable and available.
Mr. Kabia, who happens to be one of the Commissioners at NaTcA, recommended also that much as he endorses the need for an increment in the price for tariff, given the prevailing circumstances as advanced by MNOs, he advised that let it be minimal relying on Section 118 (2) (a) of the NATCA Act as amended adding that the networks should not only be accessible and affordable, but should be available and acceptable.
While making their remarks, both the Minster and Deputy Minster of Information and Communications – Mr. Mohamed Rahman Rado Swaray and Mr. Solomon Jamiru (Esq.) respectively recommended to MNOs that wider consultations with consumers should be undertaken or embraked on across the nation so as to be in a position to take or make an informed decision eventually, adding that Government would have to look at it critically and recommend accordingly in the interest of the consumers who would be at the receiving end of it all.
At the climax of the Consultative Dialogue, a communique was sent out signed by all Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the three various Mobile Network Providers, a representative from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Director General of NATCA with a view to further or depen the conversation on same in order to make a final determination on the tariff increment.