Telecommunication subscribers under the aegis of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers have rejected the planned 40 per cent tariff hike by telecommunication operators, vowing to oppose the telcos’ move to introduce a new price regime for data, calls and SMS.
The telecom consumer group said it was insensitive for any organisation to consider a tariff increase at the current state of the economy.
The President of the association, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, stated that the association is against any move by the government to increase prices in the cost of calls, SMS, and data.
He added, “Presently, about 71 million subscribers cannot make calls. They shouldn’t task subscribers. The telcos might have been able to absorb some of the increases they complained about if they have not been losing subscribers.
“If everything were good, the telcos would have been able to absorb some of these shocks. The SIM-NIN policy is largely to blame for the loss in revenue in the telecom industry. A lot of prior losses to the policy are to blame too. We cannot allow the telcos to increase the tariff prices. They shouldn’t be thinking of this now.”
According to them, telcos have been losing revenue since the verification exercise began. They stated this in response to a 40 per cent proposed hike in telecom service tariff prices in the nation.
The President of the association, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, said if telcos had not been losing revenue since the exercise began, they might have been able to absorb shocks by the recent hike in diesel prices.
He said, “For us, it is because they are now losing revenue. By the time you study the situation, they have been losing revenue since the SIM-NIN exercise begann.
“Now, they are losing more revenue because barred lines cannot make ongoing calls which is an economic loss for subscribers as well as the mobile network operators. So why are they trying to shift that on the consumers by increasing the cost of tariffs?
“For us, it is the Federal Government and the Minister of Communications that the telcos should focus on. For instance, they should be pushing for a three to six months extension so that barred subscribers can make calls for instance. This will at least increase their revenue stream again. The telcos should focus on the Federal Government.”
Telecom companies had proposed a 40 per cent increase in the cost of calls, SMS, and data because of the rising cost of running a business in the nation.
However, a senior lecturer of Economics at the Pan Atlantic University, Dr Olalekan Aworinde, said the hike in the cost of telecom was expected.
According to him, while the increase in the cost of food has been pronounced, there has been a general increase in the cost of producing services in the nation.
He added that consumers might have to start prioritising their consumption of telecom services.