The Nigerian Communications Commission has said the proposed hike in data tariff by telecommunication companies is meant to protect the interest of the subscribers and prevent monopoly.
The Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of the NCC, Mr. Ismail Adedigba, said this in Osogbo on the sidelines of the 81st consumer outreach programme held in Osogbo.
He said the agency had not given up on the proposed data tariff increment, saying the NCC was working to protect the interest of Nigerians in order to prevent telecom giants from ripping them off at the end.
Adedigba explained that some telecoms giants could charge very low tariff just to prevent new entrants in the sector, adding that after warding off competition, they would hike their price astronomically and subscribers would be at their mercy.
The NCC boss said, “It is the NCC’s mandate to regulate activities in the industry, to protect the interest of subscribers. That is the reason behind the plan to increase data tariffs.
“If we allow the operators to charge any price, some can charge very low prices and they will take all customers to their networks at the expense of new entrants.
“Nothing is free; once the consumers take the bait of rushing to the network offering cheaper tariff, competition will be eliminated. The effect is that once the big operators know that new entrants have been frustrated, they will increase their prices and the consumers will not have any choice because the new entrants have been crippled.
“At the end of the day, you would have predating prices and there will be no competition against the few ones left in the sector. So, we will continue to enlighten Nigerians.”
The Director, Consumers Affairs of the NCC, Alhaji Abdulahi Maikano, had earlier in his address said the agency would not shirk its responsibility of protecting the interest of subscribers.
Maikano said, “Consumers must be protected and that is why the commission has developed series of initiatives with the main goal of empowering consumers with appropriate information that will ensure that their rights are not only protected but their choices provide them with value for money.”
Consumers, who spoke at the meeting decried the alleged fraudulent activities of the major operators in the industry, saying they usually set trap for them to fall into with the aim of defrauding them.
Some also lamented the poor quality of voice calls and data services of the operators, saying despite this, they charged and bombarded them with unsolicited messages.