Nigerians have rallied together in expressing their dissatisfaction over a move by the telecommunication operators to increase the tariff for voice calls, short message services (SMS), and data services in the country.
Operators of telecommunication companies under the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had asked for upward reviews in voice calls, short message services (SMS) and data costs by as much as 40 per cent.
ALTON said this in a letter addressed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), citing the rising cost of running a business.
According to ALTON, the proposed upward review of the price of calls will increase from N6.4 to N8.95, while the price cap of SMS will increase from N4 to N5.61.
In swift reactions, mobile phone users noted that, though, the proposed increase is understandable following rise in operating expenses, the timing for such proposed increase is a major concerns, judging from the fact that most Nigerians are barely struggling to survive financially.
To this end, Nigerians have called on the federal government to take action, stating that if government allows this, it will lead to other sectors of the economy following suit, making life more unbearable for citizens.
For instance, Mr Ifeanyi Chizor, a car spare part seller in Lagos said: “we could barely afford to pay our electricity bills. Food price has increased tremendously, making it difficult for us to eat three square meals. Now, it is telecoms industry. Life is already hard for us. How can we survive? I plead with the Nigerian government to weigh-in, as the cost of living is making Nigeria difficult to live in.”
As for Lekky Mamora, a 100 level students of the University of Lagos, increasing the tariff of calls and SMS, would only make life more difficult for the poor masses. “No doubt, our politicians can afford it, that is why they don’t care, when the prices of food stuff increased, when PHCN increase their tariff, and they won’t care if telecoms industry decided to increase the calls and SMS tariff,” he added.
Mamora, however, pleaded with the telecoms industry to consider the masses, because they are the ones that will be affected.
- Text first published in Leadership