5 things to expect from NCC’s knee-jerk price regulation

It has finally been confirmed that the Nigerian Communications Commission has directed that all telecommunications and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to raise the floor prices of data to 0.90k/MB from this Thursday, the 1st of December, 2016. It’s only been a little over a year since the NCC magnanimously approved the withdrawal of data floor prices last October.

The NCC’s justification is that the new price regime will “provide a level playing field for all operators in the industry [allowing] small operators (side eye ntel) and new entrants to acquire market share and operate profitably. Small operators and new entrants are hereby exempted for the price floor for data services.”

In fairness to the NCC though, we were warned. When the data floor prices were reduced last year, the Commission already warned that any distortion in the market will lead them to restore the floor prices.

Still, as we’ve already said: it’s rubbish. The inability of small service providers to compete in a healthy market that has spent years growing itself to this level should not be considered a ‘distortion in the market”. It’s nobody’s fault that a new operator to the market cannot compete with the status quo.

All in all, except we decide on a #OccupyNCC before Thursday, we can be sure that this is the new reality. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to foresee some of the things that might come out of this.

  1. #OccupyNCC

Of course, everyone remembers #OccupyNigeria. No one will forget in a hurry those few days when Nigerians truly decided that we had had enough and weren’t about to suffer and smile one more time. Honestly, it wasn’t just about fuel subsidy; it was all the years of unpaid salaries, fuel hikes, ASUU strikes, baseless NEPA bills, increased power outages and just the horrible living conditions of Nigerians. We weren’t having anymore.

One might argue that we didn’t have enough foresight at the time and we could have listened to the pros and cons of the government’s arguments and maybe we would have avoided the fuel scarcity of May, 2016.

But speaking of 2016. It has been the most stressful year for many Nigerians/. Starting with the fuel scarcity, foreign exchange, then rice and finally the recession that has done a much better job of ruling over our lives than those we entrusted to power. This is the exact reason why an #OccupyNCC looms large in the next few hours. We just cannot bear anymore hardship in one year. Just maybe if they had decided on this in 2017, we would have been more forgiving.

Also, data is the one thing millions of Nigerians cannot afford to strike off their priority list. How will people keep up with Bobrisky? What will the unemployed and employed busy bodies do without Twitter? #OccupyNCC

2. The death blow to Blackberry users

For some of us, our Blackbery devices have been indispensable. It has never mattered that we were left on all the new developments in phone technology, the physical keyboard has always been the next best thing after Nokia. With these new regime though, no ISP will even bother with the lower rates they offer Blackberry users. (Condolences to Airtel subscribers). And without data, what are we typing right?

It’s a shame though, because we were ready to show WhatsApp that we can actually go on with the last species of Blackberry phones without them. So much for sticking through till the end. Thanks, NCC.

3. N what?

Since the rumours about the price increase started, one ISP has been getting the brunt from Nigerians. The question has been : What even are these new entrants anyway and who needs them?

The story is that a certain telco went to whisper in NCC’s ears and because of their influence, NCC listened and now they’ve brought this pain on us.

Guess who still won’t be able to compete after the data floor prices are raised because “no one asked for 4G LTE anyway!

4. President Buhari’s ratings  will plunge even further

Because really, there’s no way we aren’t pinning this on the government.

5. Etisalat wins

Remember how Etisalat did not join anybody to do promo data? Remember how they have slowly and quietly increased their data rates in the past few months on the assurance that their quality service with help them retain core customers? With these new prices, only Etisalat loyalists can truthfully say they aren’t really affected.

Or wait! What’s the difference between NGN3,000 for 1.5GB and NGN2,500 for 3.5GB?

Okay, no one wins.

So finally:

5.  We move!

Right on with the new price regime like the Nigerians that we are. Very persevering people.

 

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