Nigeria: Impact Of NCC's Removal Of The Data Floor Price On The Internet Data Market

Last Updated: 20 July 2016
Article by Perchstone & Graeys

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had earlier, on October 13, 2015, lifted the data floor price, giving the telecoms operators and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the freedom to reduce their data tariffs below the set lowest industry prices. It would be recalled that the regulator had in May 2013 imposed a price floor on telecoms operators in the country as a means of controlling anti-competitive behaviours by operators considered to have attained the dominant status in the industry.

Simply put, the removal of data floor price was implemented by the NCC to promote and ensure sustainability, growth and development of the segment of the data service market. It was designed and perceived by the regulator as a way of ensuring that smaller Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecoms start-up companies had the chance to compete with the bigger, already established companies.

The philosophy behind the removal is to enable ISPs to bring down their internet data price as low as possible so as to gain more subscribers as well as make it cheaper for Nigerians to access the internet. In light of the removal, it becomes necessary to analyze the impact it has had on the behavior of the telecoms operators as well as its beneficial impact to the relevant stakeholders particularly the subscribers?

In a nutshell, a price floor is the lowest legal price a commodity or service can be sold at; i.e. setting a minimum price for a good or service. The term when used in the telecom sector is the limit to how low ISPs in Nigeria could fix their prices. A price floor, though share some similarities with price ceiling as form of price controls; however is different from the latter. A price ceiling simply refers to setting a maximum price for a good or service. This was exactly what the Federal Government did recently by the removal of subsidy and placing a ceiling of N145, above which oil marketers cannot sell petrol.

Thus, a price floor is a government-or industry-imposed price control or limit on how low a price can be charged for a product or service. Price floors are usually used to protect manufacturers and ensure that they get a fair price for their produce. By necessary implication, the NCC is of the firm view that the removal is necessary given that the market is now sufficiently competitive and no industry player can suffocate the others. In any case, in the event of an occurrence or any sign of occurrence of anti-competitive behaviours by any operator against the other, the NCC had stated that it "will restore the floor price if any distortion is observed within the market segment".

The Impact

Inevitably, the telecoms operators reacted to this removal by reducing their data prices considerably. Thus we can observe that prior to the removal, a subscriber will purchase a 6GB of internet data on Globacom's network for a sum of N3,000. Today, same amount will get you 12GB on Globacom's network while ₦3,500 will today get you 7GB on the Airtel network. Both MTN and Etisalat have also revised their data plans in a bid to compete on this front. This reduction in prices has also had a significant effect on the reduction or increase in the number of internet subscribers amongst the telecoms operators.

In September 2015, a month before NCC removed the data floor price, MTN had the highest amount of internet subscribers among the four (4) major telecoms operators. Going by the NCC's Internet Subscriber Data report of May 2015 – April 2016, MTN had 41.8 million internet subscribers – that's almost 100% more than Glo's 21.9 million subscribers. Airtel was third with 17.7 million and Etisalat fourth with 15.6 million. One month after the floor price removal, in November 2015, MTN lost 1 million subscribers (N40.8 million), Glo gained 3 million (N24.9 million), Airtel lost close to 1 million subscribers (N16.8 million), and Etisalat lost close to half a million (N15.2 million).

By April 2016, MTN had lost almost 10 million internet subscribers (N32.4 million), while Glo had gained almost 5 million (N26.3 million). Airtel's internet subscriber base fell from 17.7 million in September 2015 to 15.3 million in April 2016, while Etisalat's internet subscriber base rose to 17.2 million from 15.6 million. Looking at these figures, it's obvious that Glo has been the big winner so far while MTN has been the big loser in the ongoing data fight.

Moving away from the impact of the removal on the operators, there is also the positive impact the removal would have on the behavior of the users of these data; Nigerians. The removal of the data floor will make it cheaper for Nigerians to access the internet. This, in turn, will increase online economic activities such as online shopping, online banking and as well other economic activities which are transacted over the internet.

The most obvious benefactor in this regards has been the entertainment industry which has seen the rise of such online entertainment outfits like NdaniTV and IrokoTV. On the other side, however, is the reduction in the quality of internet service delivery which many data subscribers are now having to cope with. This is due to the increased traffic loads the internet facilities of these telecoms operators would now have to carry as more people subscribe for increased internet data services.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that impact of the removal of the data floor price has been good so far. In this time and age where people are becoming increasingly reliant on the internet for their day to day activities, a policy guide that improves internet penetration and accessibility is always a welcome development. Nevertheless, the increasing low quality internet access services flowing from the data price crash is very worrisome and should be a grave concern to the regulator. Hence, it is recommended that the telecoms operators should continually expand their infrastructure networks by adopting and utilizing the latest technology in order to ensure that they keep up with the growing demands for internet access in Nigeria. Perhaps this may be one area MTN can exploit to restore its lost dominance in the data segment of the market.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions