Telco’s cheaper rate plans roll out amid rising inflation

Despite rising inflation across all sectors of the economy and globally, telecom operators in Nigeria are still rolling out more affordable tariff plans. This is under a newly approved tariff plan for MTN, Airtel and 9Mobile by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

This comes just two months after the NCC rejected the telcos’ plans to raise tariffs due to rising diesel costs, raising their operating costs. The new multi-package pricing plans will be rolled out by operators later this month and early or mid-August.

For example, Airtel will roll out the Smart value rate plan by August 5. According to the telco, this is a voice-only subscription that allows all calls (Onnet/Offnet) to be settled at a flat rate of N9.22/min. The plan also offers subscribers calls to 5 international countries (US, UK, Canada, India and China) at 55k/sec, while calls to other countries are charged at standard rates.

Likewise, MTN has applied for and been granted the extension of its MTN Yafun Yafun promotion, which offers subscribers 8x the value (700% bonus) on all top-ups made through physical, logical and VTU recharge channels. The promo is set to kick off on August 16, according to the NCC record.

Other newly approved rate plans

Airtel will also roll out Airtel 20x Plan, a bundle plan that offers subscribers 20 times the airtime for voice and data. This will start on August 6, 2022. 9Mobile also received approval for its Morelife Complete, a pricing plan segment for high-value subscribers. It offers a flat rate for voice calls to all networks and 11 international destinations for a daily entry fee of N5.12. This will be rolled out on July 16, 2022. On July 11, 2022, MTN launched its customized Xtra Special Bundle, a subscription that offers subscribers a standard rate of 13.33k/sec (N8/min) for all local and select International destinations and data bundles especially for subscribers on the subscription.

The telcos had written a letter to the NCC earlier in May asking for an increase in the tariffs for telecommunications services. In the letter, the telecom companies said that the cost of doing business in the country had risen by 40%. According to them, the telecommunications industry has been financially hit after the country’s economic recession in 2020 and the impact of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine/Russia. They said this had led to an increase in energy costs, increasing their operating costs by 35%.

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However, this was rejected by the regulator. While the Commission acknowledges that the operators may have a valid reason for the request sent to it in a letter, the Commission said there would be no cost assessment in the telecom sector until empirical studies have been carried out to determine whether increases are necessary.

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