Any person subscribed to any of the Nigerian GSM networks must not be charged more than 4 Naira for short message service, sms, sent to other networks, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, said on Thursday.
The NCC set a price cap of N4 per message for all domestic Off-Net Short Messaging Service, SMS, with effect from February 5.
Josephine Amuwa, the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services of the Commission made this known in a statement made available in Lagos.
Ms. Amuwa said that this had been communicated to the operators since January 3, adding that it would, however, not place a price cap on international SMS.
“There was a general recognition that the cost of SMS is too high, especially in view of the interconnection rate of N1.02 for SMS as determined by the Commission in 2009.
“In accordance with the powers conferred on the Commission under Sections 4 and Chapter V11 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, the Commission hereby sets a price cap of N4 for Off-net SMS.
“The new rate shall be implemented within 30 days from the date of the directive,” Ms. Amuwa said.
She said the operators had proposed a price cap ranging between N5 to N10 per message for Off-Net SMS.
The Director said that the Commission would not set a cap for international SMS for now, since interconnect rates for international SMS were outside its control.
According to her, international SMS are terminated through international carrier service providers in various jurisdictions.
She said that the considerations were based on the interest of striking a balance between sustaining operators’ profitability and ensuring consumer satisfaction.
Ms. Amuwa said that the Commission would monitor compliance by operators, adding that failure would result to sanctions provided by Section 111 of the NCA 2003.