During November 2016, the Nigerian Communications Comission (NCC), Nigeria's telecoms regulator, had issued a directive ordering mobile service providers to adhere to a prescribed minimum price (floor price) per MB in Nigeria.

The decision to issue a directive to mobile service providers to hike data prices came as a surprise because in 2015 the NCC, removed data floor pricing which in turn enabled mobile service providers to set lower mobile data prices and benefiting Nigerian mobile data users as prices became cheaper. However, surprisingly, the NCC reversed this decision and decided to reinstate data floor price, forcing mobile service providers to hike prices up. This hike would have seen an increase of mobile data packages up to 600% in some cases.

In a commucation the NCC sent to.mobe service providers, they stated that they were doing this to โ€œlevel the playing fieldโ€.

"This statement clarifies the insinuation in some quarters that the regulator has fixed prices for data services. This is not true because the NCC does not fix prices but provides regulatory guidelines to protect the consumers, deepen investments and safeguard the industry from imminent collapse."

The data floor pricing was to take effect on 01 December 2016 but due to consumer and industry pressures, the Comission issued a statement today stating that they had โ€œvisited the directive to introduce price floor for data segment of the telecommunications sector beginning from December 1, 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has suspended any further action in that direction.โ€

The NCC further elaborated that the price floor is "not an increase in price but a regulatory safeguard put in place by the telecommunications regulator to check anti-competitive practices by dominant operators."

Given the potential impact of the decision one wonders why the NCC didn't see it fit to consult industry stakeholders beforehand and also perhaps hold several consumer forums before making such a decision which had the potential to negatively impact Nigeria's promising Internet economy and the economy in general.

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