Nigerian operators have sought to increase tariff prices by about 100 per cent since the beginning of the year because their revenues have taken a hit from OTT services and their operating costs are on the rise, Daily Trust reported.

“The costs of expanding capacity and their networks have increased with the devaluation of the Naira against the US dollar, and most consumers now spend less on telecommunication services, especially voice calls, compared to previous years,” an anonymous source at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) told the news service.

According to Daily Trust, average voice revenue per user fell from $15 per month in 2004 to $4 today due to an economic crisis in the country. Tariffs decreased from between NGN24 ($0.07) and NGN75 per minute, to around NGN12.

Operators want to hike prices to NGN24 per minute and charge NGN2,000 for 1GB of data per month, up from the current NGN1,000.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria complained of decreasing revenues due to increasing costs and the popularity of OTT services.

Its chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, cited a report by research company Ovum which predicted OTT services will result in a global revenue loss of $386 billion between 2012 and 2018 for operators, and endanger network development.

Meanwhile the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers believes prices should actually decrease because of the economic situation in the country.

Its president, Deolu Ogunbanjo, was quoted as saying: “I don’t think this is the right time to do any upward review. The government and its agencies, and the operators should be sensitive to the plight of the people. They should understand that we are just coming out of recession”.

Last week, the NCC said it will sanction operators if they don’t pass financial and technical checks, in order to prevent a repeat of a situation involving Etisalat Nigeria, which was unable to pay $1.2 billion of debt.