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Hello… NCC moves to cap GSM charges

LAGOS—Nigeria plans to cap the amount mobile telecoms operators can charge for calls and text messages later this year in a bid to lower call charges in Africa’s most populous country, the regulator said Tuesday.
Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC’s, Director of Policy and Competition, Mrs. Mary Uduma,  said the commission was working to determine the appropriate cap. She added that the last review almost 10 years ago fixed N50 ($0.33) for mobile calls and N15 for text messages.

“We are trying to place a cap above which operators cannot price their services. We are taking into consideration macro, micro and market factors in determining this,” she said.

The number of active mobile subscribers in the country rose to 76 million by the end of February from 66 million last year, making it the biggest telecoms market in sub-Saharan Africa.

Telecoms providers are targeting the lower-income rural population to expand their subscriber base in the country of 140 million people after sharp expansion in urban areas.

Analysts say the planned price review will increase competition and reduce profit margins for operators.

Nigeria’s main mobile operators include South Africa’s MTN (MTNJ.J), Kuwaiti firm Zain (ZAIN.KW) — which recently sold its African assets to India’s Bharti Airtel (BRTI.BO) — local privately-held firm Globacom and Emirates Telecommunications Co (Etisalat) ETEL.AD.


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