Friday, January 01, 2010

Nigeria - Regulator has pproved new interconnect rates

[daily champion] The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Dr. Ernest Ndukwe last week announced a new set of Interconnect rates for the telecom industry, to take effect from December 31, 2009, a move which will encourage new entrants who hitherto, have complained of unfavourable rate with the established operators.

A press release to Champion Infotel signed by the Head, Media and Public Relations, Mr Reuben Muoka said the new rates, which replace the earlier ones issued by the Commission in September 2006, presents many features that represent improvement in the earlier interconnect rates determinations by the Commission.

According to him, the latest determination applied the Asymmetric Interconnect rate method whereby, new mobile operators enjoy higher termination rates than the older operators as a result of the study that showed that such operators expend higher cost of termination in their networks.

"With this development, call terminations on new entrants' networks are graduated from N10.12 from December 31, 2009 to N8.20 in 2012 while call terminations on older operator's networks is fixed at N8.20 over the same period. Another major feature of the new rates is the determination of Interconnect Rates for Short Messaging Services, SMS, for the first time in the country," the statement said.

The SMS interconnection rates also featured a glide path whereby, the new entrants enjoy interconnection rates starting from N1.94 from December 31, 2009 to N1..02 in 2012. The other (older) mobile operators will stay on a fixed N1.02 bar over the same period.

The Commission also prescribed two conditions for qualifying an operator as a new entrant. These include: The termination service is provided under a licence that was allocated after 01/01/06 and is less than 4 years old and the provider (or a company bought by the provider) of this termination service did not provide this service in Nigeria before 01/01/06, under a different licence.

The document which is available on the Commission's website listed the mobile service providers regarded as the new entrants, and stated that in the event that other new operators are licensed and offer mobile (voice and SMS) termination services, they will be assessed by the Commission using the two test criteria described for eligibility to join the glide-path for mobile voice and SMS termination as set out for the new entrants.

The new rates approved by the Commission is expected to impact positively on the retail tariffs which the operators will offer its customers after its commencement as the rates are below the prevailing interconnection rates in the market.

Nigeria:NCC Approves New Interconnect Rates

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