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NCC pegs all SMS at N4 effective Feb 5

By The Citizen
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The Nigerian Communications Commission has set a price cap of N4.00 (Four Naira per message) for all domestic Off-Net Short Messaging Service with effect from February 5, 2013.

According to a statement issued by the regulator, the directive to this effect, which was communicated to the operators since January 3, 2013, said the Commission will not place a price cap on International SMS at this time.

The directive which was signed by the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of NCC, Ms. Josephine Amuwa, said the Commission  arrived at the new  price cap after due considerations of the submissions made by the operators at various consultative meetings.

She said having evaluated and analyzed SMS traffic information provided by the operators, the Commission noted that  ' there was a general recognition that the cost of SMS is too high, especially in view of the interconnection rate of N1.02 (One Naira, Two Kobo Only) for SMS as determined by the Commission in 2009'.

She also noted that the operators had proposed a price cap ranging between N5-10  per message for Off-Net SMS. The operators also urged the Commission not to set a cap for international SMS due to the fact that Interconnect rates for International SMS are outside their control as it is terminated through international carrier service providers in various jurisdictions.

Ms. Amuwa said that based on these considerations, and  in the interest of striking a balance between sustaining operator's profitability and ensuring consumer satisfaction, the commission hereby sets a price cap of N4.00 (Four Naira Only) for Off-net SMS.

According her, the new rate shall be implemented within 30 days from the date of the directive, adding that the Commission will not place a price cap on International SMS at this time but would encourage operators to work towards lowering the cost of International SMS.

These she said are in accordance with the powers conferred on the Commission  under Sections 4 and Chapter V11 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

The statement also said that the Commission will monitor compliance by the operators, and noted that failure to comply with the determination will be penalized as provided by section 111 of the NCA 2003.