NCC affirms new interconnect rate under way

Operators in the Nigerian telecommunications industry will soon get a new interconnect rate, Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Tony Ojobo, has said.

If this information is a piece to go by, Ojobo, confirmed this in a telephone interview with our correspondent, also disclosed that consultants on the new rates had reached advanced stages in determining the new rate that will apply in the industry soon.

Interconnect rate represents the cost of terminating a call on another network. In other words, it is the rate that a network operator that originates a call pays to the operator on whose network the call is terminated.

The interconnect rate is important in telecommunications because it helps in defining tariffs for calls that involve at least two networks. Operators recover at least the cost of interconnection for calls on other networks.

New interconnect rate for the industry became imperative following the expiration of the current interconnect rate in December 2012.

The current rate, which came into operation in 2009, has been N8.20 per minute.

Speaking at a recent forum on interconnect rate, Executive Vice Chairman at NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said the regulatory agency had consistently reviewed the industry’s interconnection rates every three years beginning from 2003.

The interconnection rates determination of year 2003, he said, was based on international benchmark, with adjustments for the Nigerian operating environment, due to dearth of industry statistical data.

He said, “In the year 2006, which coincidentally was when the five year exclusivity period granted to the GSM operators expired, the commission reviewed the interconnection rates by applying multiple rates for mobile and fixed voice services in recognition of far-end and near-end calls termination principles.

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