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NCC Sets New International Termination Rate For Voice Services

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set $0.045 as the new International Termination Rate (ITR) for voice services paid by overseas telecom carriers for terminating international calls on local networks in Nigeria.
The new rate which is the floor price for ITR services is expected to take effect from January 1, 2022, and would  be paid in US Dollars to enable Nigerian operators to receive an increasing rate in Naira terms to accommodate devaluation.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘NCC sets new Mobile International Termination Rate for Voice Services’, issued by NCC’s Director for Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, on Monday.
NCC in the statement said that “no licensee shall charge and/or receive effective rate per minute below the determined ITR floor rate”.
It warned that payment discounts, volume discounts and any other concession that has the effect of bringing the effective ITR lower than the rate determined shall be deemed a contravention of the new determination and will attract sanctions in line with the Nigerian Communications (Enforcement process, etc.) Regulations, 2019.
The ITR Floor is the minimum that can be charged. Operators will be free to negotiate a rate above the floor and this will be entirely left to commercial negotiation between the operators and international carriers/partners, NCC explained.
However, while the ITR only pertains to the cost of bringing traffic into Nigeria, Nigerian operators will continue to pay the regulated Mobile Termination Rate (MTR), the local termination rate among themselves.
The statement reads in part, ‘’The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has determined the new International Termination Rate (ITR) for voice services paid by overseas telecom carriers for terminating international calls on local networks in Nigeria at $0.045.
‘’The MTR of N3.90 for generic 2G/3G/4G operators and N4.70 for new entrant Long Term Evolution (LTE) operators determined in 2018, will continue to apply for local call terminations until a new rate is determined by the Commission pursuant to its powers as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003.
‘’The subsisting regime of interconnection rates was sustained by the Commission’s Mobile (voice) termination rate issued on June 1, 2018. In the determination, it was stated that the ITR of N24.40 determined in 2016 will continue to apply until a new determination is made.
‘’The ITR, being denominated in Naira had multiple negative impacts on local operators which was further exacerbated by episodes of devaluation of naira which ultimately left Nigeria from being a net receiver with respect to international minutes to a net payer.
‘’The Commission also observed that operators continue to face series of challenges occasioned by the denomination of ITR in Naira, necessitating a need for a cost-based study on ITR. In view of the foregoing and in fulfillment of its statutory mandate of periodic review of regulatory policies, the Commission engaged Messrs’ Payday Advance and Support Services Limited to undertake a cost-based study of voice MTR that is most suitable for the Nigerian telecommunications industry”.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said that in arriving at the new MTR of $0.045, the Commission has carefully considered the information provided by stakeholders and taken a view on parameters and regulatory measures in the light of relevant information such as international experience, cost model results, the state of competition in the sector and the Nigerian macro-economic environment.
Danbatta added that the process of arriving at the ITR had been conducted transparently with a view to providing maximum clarity to all parties without compromising the confidentiality of commercially-sensitive information.
“We are confident that the result the review will make a significant contribution to the development of the telecoms sector in Nigeria and be beneficial to subscribers, operators and the country at large’’, he said.
Recall that in June 2021, the NCC announced plans to roll out a new Mobile International Termination Rate (ITR) following the finalization of the process for determining the cost-based price of ITR to ensure healthy competition on traffic handling for voice services between local and international operators in Nigeria.

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Association  Tasks Politicians On Internet Market 

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The Global System for Mobile telecommunications Association (GSMA) has warned that market imbalances between network operators and online service providers could stall growth in several sectors of the internet-based economy, and called on politicians to urgently address the issue.
In its GSMA 2022 Internet Value Chain report, the trade association noted factors including asymmetric regulation and restrictions, sector-specific taxes, and spectrum costs are squeezing the business models of infrastructure providers whilst allowing big tech to thrive.
The body noted that those in charge of setting laws and regulations must consider the interdependence of online services and other growth sectors on the underlying infrastructure investment.
In a recent statement obtained online by the Press, its Chairman, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, said “growing recognition of this issue by policymakers is important, especially as the Internet-based economy expands across all sectors over the next decade”.
The report encouraged  decision makers to consider the full landscape of taxation and regulation.
It also advised   companies investing in infrastructure  to build and upgrade the networks, which underpin online services.
The study found revenue across the internet value chain doubled in five years, from $3.3 trillion in 2015 to $6.7 trillion in 2020, noting that much of this growth comes from online services, revenue from which increased 19 per cent per year in 2020.
However, the return on investment in infrastructure for network operators was far lower, at between six per cent and 11 per cent.
The GSMA noted that operators are receiving less than 10 per cent returns on capital because of pressure to invest up to 20 per cent of revenue in capex.
The body  further revealed that the Internet continues to grow at a pace in terms of users, services and, most of all, traffic.
It stressed that the growth was relentless, adding that there is much more to go.
“The number of people with access to the internet has reached 4.6 billion in 2020 (via either fixed or mobile networks), an increase of 44 per cent since 2015 and a yearly growth rate of 7.5 per cent.

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MTN Begins PSaB  Services In Nigeria

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MTN Nigeria’s fintech subsidiary, MoMo Payment Service Bank (MoMo PSB) Limited,  has formally commenced PSB operations sequel to the recent approval of the service by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Network provider said, this follows a successful pilot initiated on May 16, 2022, which was in commemoration of the launch of its  GSM operations on May 16, 2001 and listing by introduction on the Nigerian Stock Exchange Limited on May 16, 2019.
It described the listing as  key milestone in delivering the company’s Ambition 2025 strategic priorities.
Also, in a stock market statement, Airtel Africa announced that its subsidiary, SmartCash PSB, had started providing services through selected retail outlets with plans to expand across Nigeria in the coming months.
Airtel Africa secured a full Payment Service Bank licence from the CBN through its subsidiary in April, having received an in-principle approval in 2021.
MTN informed that a market activation took place recently at Oke-Arin market in Marina, Lagos, where traders were shown how to open a MoMo wallet, by simply dialing *671# on any network.
It also hinted that the system allows subscribers the opportunity to  send money to any mobile phone in the country as well as buy airtime/data and as well,  pay bills.
The telecommunications firm said in addition to delivering a wide range of digitised payment services aimed at removing the friction from everyday payment by digitising cash payment, MoMo wallets in the future will also enable account holders to receive inbound remittance from any country in the world.
With an expansive agent network of over 166,000 active agents and digitised partnership infrastructure, MTN claimed that MoMo PSB is poised to enable millions of unbanked and underserved Nigerians to access a wide range of financial service products.
Chief Executive Officer  of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola,  said the company was grateful to the CBN for its  support and guidance through the process.
Toriola noted that it was an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in its  mission to support the delivery of financial services to everyone in the country.
In his reaction, the MoMo PSB CEO, Usoro Usoro, noted that providing easy to use, accessible and affordable financial services to all Nigerians was  essential to executing the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy and the digital inclusion agenda of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
Usoro said his firm was looking forward to playing its  part, saying that it was excited about the opportunities to partner with relevant institutions across various sectors to co-create and expand access nationwide.
According to Airtel Africa, the licence allows it to deliver what it described at the time as a full suite of mobile money services.
Airtel Africa CEO, Segun Ogunsanya, pledged to revolutionise financial services in Nigeria and drive inclusion.

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FG Increases Call Rate By 9%

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The Federal Government has placed a new tax on phone calls in Nigeria, saying it is to enhance funding for free healthcare for the Vulnerable Group in the country
It would be recalled that telecommunication companies had made moves to increase the price of its services as a result of an unfavourable operating climate.
In the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2021 signed by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, last week, section 26 of the act provides that the source of money for the Vulnerable Group Fund includes telecommunications tax, not less than one kobo per second of GSM calls.
“Section 26 of this new law imposes a telecommunications tax of not less than 1kobo per second on GSM calls. With call rates at about 11kobo per second, this translates to a 9 per cent tax on GSM calls,” it said.
Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader at Price Waterhouse Coopers, Taiwo Oyedele,  noted that Section 26 of the  new law imposes  telecommunications tax of not less than 1kobo per second on GSM calls.
With call rates at about 11kobo per second,  Oyedele said that it stood for  about nine  per cent tax on  GSM calls.

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