The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has embarked on a cost-based study to set a new pricing regime for mobile international termination rate, ITR, for inbound international voice calls.
The ITR is the rate paid to local operators by international operators to terminate calls in Nigeria.
The commission organised a virtual stakeholder engagement forum to intimate stakeholders of the ongoing cost-based study and the need to cooperate with the consultants engaged to carry out the study.
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, said the study has become imperative following the various implementation constraints arising from contending industry and market dynamics that met previous efforts at finding an optimum price for the termination of international voice services in Nigeria.
Professor Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, said through the new ITR pricing, the Commission will be able to balance the competing objectives of economic efficiency and allowing operators the latitude to generate reasonable revenue.
The EVC, however, explained that in 2013, the Commission issued a determination stating that mobile termination rate (MTR) rates were the same irrespective of where the call originated, a clause he said was largely misconstrued by operators at that time to mean that ITR should be the same rate as the MTR.
He said Nigerian operators’ profitability and commercial results were negatively affected putting Nigeria’s ITR below that of most countries with which it makes and receives the most calls, thereby making Nigerian operators perpetual net payers.
The Director, Policy, Competition & Economic Analysis, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, said the forum was aimed at formally engaging with and sharing the perspectives and insights of industry stakeholders and ultimately enlisting their collective support in relation to the inputs and requirements towards the determination of a mutually- realistic ITR in Nigeria.
She said that the project commenced on March 10, 2020 with a kick-off meeting but was stalled by the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating the need to explore emerging channels of engagement to move forward and ensure the completion of the project.
Mrs Akinloye reiterated the Commission’s commitment to continuously provide a conducive environment and level-playing field for the effective interplay of factors that would sustain market development and growth, while ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications regulatory services for the benefit of consumers and licensees.