By Pamela James
ABUJA — The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday, commenced a review of the Mobile Voice Termination Rate in the telecom sector.
Speaking at the stakeholders’ forum on cost-based study, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Dambatta, said the commission deemed it necessary to review the rate set in 2013, in view of current market realities.
The review, he said, was consistent with the commission’s principle of ensuring participatory regulation in the telecom sector.
Dambatta, who underscored the importance of the exercise, said the telecom market required a sound and functional interconnection regime to be able to fine tune the regulatory regime and lead the Nigerian telecoms market towards full competition and effective regulation.
When completed, the EVC said the scale of changes would inevitably affect the unit cost of providing services, including interconnection, which might lead to differences between regulated interconnection rates and underlying costs which in turn, might result in differences between on-net and off-net retail tariffs.
He said: “It is very important we ensure that interconnect services are not only fairly priced and non-discriminative but should reflect the cost of providing such services in the market. It is in this regard that the Commission has decided to review the rates set in its 2013 Determination in the light of current market realities.”
“This study also provide the opportunity to thoroughly examine the emergence of grey market activities in the telecoms industry in Nigeria such as call refilling, call masking, and sim-box fraud as a result of the international traffic.
“The supply of industry statistical data is most critical to the success of determining appropriate interconnection termination rates for the telecoms industry,” he added.
The Nigerian Communications Act 2003 requires network facilities and services providers to provide other licensees with interconnection on request at any technically feasible location.
Recall that the commission had on April 1, 2013, carried out an in-depth cost study and made a determination on the interconnection rates for voice services.
According to the NCC boss, the telecom market has witnessed tremendous growth in both subscriber numbers and traffic volumes since the last determination.
He also noted that there had been changes in all the available technologies, including the global financial markets.