Nigeria: Telecom Titans Sound the Alarm, Pricing Woes Grip the Sector Amidst Economic Strife

Current Pricing Structure Under Scrutiny: Industry Players Raise Concerns

The telecommunications sector, a cornerstone of the nation’s economy, finds itself at a crossroads as stakeholders, led by the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), ring the alarm bells over the existing pricing framework governing calls, short message service (SMS), and data services. Amidst the backdrop of ever-shifting cost dynamics within the nation, industry leaders, notably the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), are fervently highlighting what they deem an unsustainable pricing scheme.

ALTON Chairman Voices Apprehensions: Unsustainable Pricing a Looming Crisis

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Gbenga Adebayo, the esteemed Chairman of ALTON, delivered a somber message regarding the telecom sector’s predicament. Adebayo articulated his concerns: “The price we’re holding onto today is on shaky grounds, my dear reader. We’re playing a risky game, and it won’t be long before we start seeing the effects. Our services might falter, the industry’s performance might dip, and availability might turn into scarcity. We’re walking on a tightrope here, mark my words.”


The Urgent Plea: Reforms Needed as Industry Players Convene

Adebayo’s message reverberated beyond interviews as he took centre stage at Lagos’s Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE 2023). The event, orchestrated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), provided a platform for Adebayo to passionately address the pressing challenges besieging telecom operators and the broader industry. This pivotal moment underscored the urgency for reforms and prompted Adebayo to point fingers at regulatory interventions that have exacerbated the sector’s woes.

Rewinding Time: Telecom Industry’s Bold Call for Price Adjustments

Casting our eyes back to the recent past, we encounter a vigorous endeavor by the industry’s representative body to navigate the stormy waters. Just last year, these players petitioned the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for a substantial 40% increase in the costs linked to calls, SMS, and data services.


Adebayo, with a demeanor seasoned by experience, echoed his stance:

“The current pricing regimen is as sturdy as a house of cards in a gusty wind, my friends. We’re practically selling at a loss. It’s not a path strewn with roses, I’ll admit that. But sometimes, we’ve got to let the market have its say in the matter.”

Delicate Balancing Act: Unveiling the Economic Impact

Turning to the fiscal intricacies, the year 2022 witnessed telecom companies proposing adjustments to the price floor for calls, advocating for a leap from N6.4 to N8.95. This symphony of numbers continued with a crescendo in the SMS price cap from N4 to N5.61. The industry’s champions justified their audacious request by pointing out a staggering 40% escalation in the cost of doing business on the nation’s soil.

Furthermore, these telecom giants unveiled a deeper layer of their narrative. The economic turmoil of 2020, coupled with the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, conspired to usher in a 35% surge in operational expenses. The villain? Soaring energy costs that left their mark on the sector’s balance sheets.

Looking Ahead: A Call for Change in the Winds of Transformation

As the telecom sector stands at the crossroads, the industry’s titans are issuing a clarion call for transformative action. Will the powers that be heed their plea and usher in a new pricing era? Only time holds the answer. Meanwhile, brace yourselves for potential shifts in call and data expenses, as the Nigerian telecommunications landscape braces for winds of change.