Nigerians Moan as Ministry Claims Cost of Data Subscription Cheaper by 50 Percent

Nigerians are still grappling with the disclosure by the Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy, headed by Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, that cost of data has on the average, reduced by 50 per cent of the cost of January, 2020. The news was disclosed by Pantami’s Technical Assistant on Information Technology, ‘Femi Adeluyi, on Wednesday, 9th December, 2020. The Ministry claims that the average cost of 1GB of data has reduced from the January 2020 cost of N1,000 to N487.18 in November 2020. Many Nigerians, especially Globacom, Airtel, and MTN users, have however, said that this has not been the case. But, according to the Ministry, average cost of data in Nigeria has fallen. This is, they say, due to the National Broadband Plan which is designed t o pan the period of 2020 to 2025.

Checks on the MTN and Airtel networks reveals that 1.5 gigabyte data subscription costs N1000. This means that 1 gigabyte of data goes for about 670 Naira. According to Airtel, the rate differs according to the data plan of the user, and dependent on ‘time’.

The committee to spearhead the Plan was inaugurated in December, 2020, exactly a year ago. The National Broadband Plan, launched by the President Muhammadu Buhari in March this year, aims to reduce cost of data subscription in Nigeria, to a minimum N390 per gigabyte by end of 2025.

Pantami arrives at the National Assembly in Abuja, to defend the Ministry’s 2021 Budget proposal, early in November, 2020

In a press statement on its website, the Ministry said that it is committed to ensure that data users in Nigeria enjoy a fair price and fair service delivery that will be affordable to all. Below is the press statement by the ministry.

In line with the directives of the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, measures have been put in place to significantly reduce the average cost of data. The average cost of 1GB of data has reduced from the January 2020 cost of N1,000 to N487.18 in November, 2020. This was based on a Report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) submitted to the Honourable Minister following the implementation of the directives.

The Honourable Minister had inaugurated a Committee that developed the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) on the 16th of December, 2019.  The Plan was unveiled and launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 19th of March, 2020. One of the goals of the Plan is to reduce the average cost of 1GB of data to a maximum of N390 by 2025.  With the January 2020 baseline of N1,000 per GB, the maximum projected steady decrease for the end of each year was as follows: 2020 (N925), 2021 (N850), 2022 (N775), 2023 (N700), 2024 (N545) and 2025 (N390).

In line with Dr Pantami’s commitment to under promise and over deliver, the measures have caused the current cost of data to reduce significantly beyond the December 2020 projection of N925.  Based the Report by NCC, the average cost of data as at November 2020 was N487.18, which amounts to 47.33% lower than the projected value.  The Report also indicates that the cost of data in November 2020 was less than 50% of the cost of data in January 2020.

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, through the NCC, will continue to ensure that consumers enjoy a price regime that supports fairness and is friendly to consumers. Policies are in place to ensure that operators adopt competitive pricing that eschews unjustifiable margins. The general public may also wish to note that complaints about rapid data depletion are also being investigated.

For more enquiries, the Honourable Minister has directed NCC to respond to all issues raised by our citizens and customers. All hands will remain on deck to achieve the goals of the Broadband Plan as the Ministry supervises its implementation in line with our National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria.

Source: Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy