The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE), has reduced the previous cost of data by 50%.
According to a press statement signed by the Minister of FMCDE, Dr. Isa Ali-Pantami, measures have been put in place to significantly reduce data cost.
The statement added that the new data cost would be half of what it used to be as of January 2020.
“The average cost of 1GB data has reduced from the January 2020 cost of N1,000 to N487.1 in November 2020,” the statement read in part.
— Fed Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy (@FMoCDENigeria) December 10, 2020
FMCDE further claimed that the analytic was based on the recent report shared by the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC).
Achieving the National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025)
Recall that the Minister, at the tail end of 2019, inaugurated a committee to be in charge of Nigeria’s NBP.
The plan was subsequently unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Among other things, one of the major goals of the NBP is to reduce the cost of data to as low as N390 by 2025.
Far from expectation, the 2020 data cost reduction beats the maximum projected steady decrease for the next four years.
“With the January 2020 baseline of N1,000 per GB, the maximum projected steady decrease for the end of each year was as follow: 2020 (N925), 2021 (N850), 2022 (N775), 2023 (N700), 2024 (N545), and 2025 (N390)” excerpt from the press release reads.
Furthermore, the NCC report indicates that the reduction in data cost recorded for November 2020 is 50% less than that of January 2020.
More so, the decrease is about 43.33% lower than the projected value in the NBP.
This is another big win for the Minister and, by extension, the communication sector as a whole.
On the way forward, the FMCDE through the NCC claimed that it would “continue to ensure that consumers enjoy a price regime that supports fairness and is friendly to consumer.”
Some new policies are already in place for the communication sector, allowing for competitive pricing among the network providers.
Additionally, FMCDE also noted that an investigation is ongoing to address the general public’s complaints about rapid data depletion.
NCC also mandated network providers to respond to all issues raised by the citizens and customers.
What a reduced data cost means for Nigerians
The reduced cost of data is currently under implementation and may not be the exact fact in reality.
Going by the mixed reaction on various social media platforms, it is clear that not so many people have access to the reduced cost of data yet.
However, over time, when the new pricing is widely implemented, consumers stand to enjoy many benefits.
One major benefit that Nigerians stand to enjoy is easy access to internet connectivity.
By extension, the internet penetration rate in Nigeria may also experience a similar boost.
Also, while access to affordable data can be very challenging in this part of the world, implementing cheaper data will boost productivity among Nigerians.
For instance, a 1GB data cost N1,000; now, a 2GB data cost less than N1,000.
As such, a consumer can spend more time online, subsequently extending the productive hours of consumers.
Additionally, the implementation of reduced data cost enables more businesses to migrate online.
Now, more consumers (businesses) are encouraged to engage with their customers online, e.g., social media.
Interestingly, affordable data also means more job opportunities for consumers.
Data is one of the major requirements when starting out as a YouTuber or influencer – one that is so easy to take up.
Offering Nigerians affordable data would mean that more people can create jobs for themselves even at a very reasonable cost.
Nigerians reaction to the reduced data cost
While some Nigerians are excited about the latest development, others are complaining that the reduction is yet to be implemented.
I hope @NgComCommission will ensure implementation of the data tariff.
— adebambo Olugbemigun (@HRHadebambo) December 10, 2020
I buy 1GB at N350.
But then, even buy January 2020 I bought it N400 not N1000. Anyways, kudos if it happend following your intervention
— Mallam Usman (@Uhalliru) December 10, 2020
On which network. I bought 1GB for 1k. Directly from the network.
— Ayuba Ibn Braimah Oboh 🇳🇬. (@Ayuba_B) December 10, 2020
Will you stop this lies… 1gb of data still go for N1000… Stop deceiving us
— Emville (@Heemahnueeh) December 10, 2020