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NCC to introduce price cap, ahead with SIM card registration

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By Nnamdi Ojiego
Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian telecoms regulatory authority,  Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC,  Engr. Stephen Bello has announced the intention of the commission to reintroduce a price cap regime in the sector, while maintaining that plans by the Commission to begin the registration of SIM cards will begin May 1, 2010, with a process for new SIM cards.

Bello who spoke to journalists in Abuja, said the price cap regime which has existed at the inception of mobile phone services is one of the issues that the commission will tackle soon  to ensure that operators operate within a bar relative to interconnect rates.

“In 2001 when GSM started, we said that nobody should charge above fifty naira per minute and that was many years ago.

“Now we have the fact that the number of lines has increased, there is economy of scale and you know that as you have advantages of economy of scale the unit price comes down.

We believe that competition in the industry will control prices, nevertheless the situation may arise in which people sometimes cooperate and try to maximize their profit.

“Therefore, we in NCC have developed a policy we refer to as price cap regulation where we give a price and the competition can make you to operate within this degree of freedom, but not beyond it”, he said.

On the issue of commencement of registration of SIM cards to which some operators have expressed reservations with the dateline, Engr Bello said “our experience in this industry has shown that operators always resist anything that will cost them extra money, even when they believe in it and they believe that its necessary because they are always looking at the bottom line, they want to maximize their profit.

The same thing happened with per second billing. We have been on this thing and we have given enough time to get ready, all the issues have been discussed, we have had many meetings so the issue of publicity we are addressing it immediately so we are maintaining our stand that SIM card registration will start on the 1st of May unfailingly.

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