Chima Akwaja, Leadership
March 12, 2013
Telecommunications operators in Nigeria are demanding the introduction of a uniform mobile termination rates (MTRs) to replace the asymmetrical rates that the telecom operators have been using.
The telecommunications regulator has promised that a new interconnect rates would be ready by the end of February. The current rates officially expired on December 31, 2012.
Mr Eugene Juwah, executive vice-chairman, NCC had at the February 1, 2012 stakeholder forum on new interconnect rates held in Lagos promised that a new template for determining mobile termination across networks would be ready by the end of February. Nigerian mobile operators are still using the asymmetrical rates that expired at the end of last year.
Mr Wale Goodluck, corporate services executive, MTN Nigeria said, "We are still waiting on the NCC to come up with mobile termination rates. Regulators all over the world want to lower mobile termination rates. There is also the issue of maintaining asymmetrical rates. To me, asymmetrical rates have achieved their usefulness, everybody should go back to symmetrical rate."
Mr Olajide Aremu, head, regulatory department, Globacom said it would be unfair to maintain the asymmetrical rates as it would deny them benefits from a new regime. "In 2009, Glo was five years when the current rates began, new entrants benefited. Today, they are asking for retention, what about us?"
Mr Reuben Mouka, head, media and publicity, NCC, in a telephone chat with LEADERSHIP said "operators were told to make written response within two weeks and send to the NCC which the regulator would use to work alongside its consultant PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Even though the EVC said at the end of the month at that forum, our decision is not like management decision, when it is ready, it will go to the NCC board for approval before it is published."
He said "Because of this we are looking at the end of March for it to be ready and a decision will be made." NCC has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to review and come up with new interconnect rates for voice services. Nigeria's current mobile termination rates ensure late entrants such as Etisalat enjoy higher termination rates than older operators.
Asymmetrical rates on new entrant networks graduated from N10.12 from December 31, 2009 to N8.20k in 2012 while older operators were fixed at N8.20k over the same period. In 2006, NCC set interconnect rates at N11.25k across board. However, on December 31, 2010, NCC came up with Asymmetrical Rates which favoured new entrants ahead of old operators.