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N50/Min, N4/SMS – NCC Introduces New CUG Call, Text Rates


N50/Min, N4/SMS – NCC Introduces New CUG Call, Text Rates

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has introduced amendments to the rates for Closed User Group (CUG) call and text services in Nigeria.

These changes, set to take effect from November 1, 2023, will have a significant impact on how friends and family communicate via the country’s major telecommunications companies, including MTN, Airtel, GLO, and 9mobile.

Under the new regulations, Nigerian telecom companies will charge a uniform call rate of N50 per minute for CUG services. In addition, the NCC has decided to review data and call rates. CUG services allow registered user group members to enjoy lower call rates and free on-net calls in exchange for monthly access fees. However, telecom providers are now prohibited from bundling data with CUG plans, restricting these services to voice calls and text messages only for users.

Explaining this decision, Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, stated, “CUG rental/access fee should not be bundled with data, VAS, or other ancillary services. This directive effectively limits CUG plans to providing voice calls and text messages.”

In addition to capping voice call rates at N50 per minute, the NCC has set the cost for text messages at N4 per SMS. The minimum access fee for prepaid and postpaid CUG services is fixed at N400, with a maximum cost of N500 per month.

Furthermore, the NCC has introduced specific pricing floors for calls and text messages within and outside a CUG. Within a CUG (on-net), voice services should not be lower than N0.50 per minute, and text messages should cost no less than N1.02. Calls outside the CUG (off-net) are subject to a price floor of N6.40 per minute for voice services and N1.02 for text messages.

The NCC has streamlined CUG services, categorizing them into six subscriber classes. These categories include large corporate organizations (with a limit of 30,000 phone lines), government agencies (20,000), non-profit organizations (10,000), duly registered private estate associations (2,000), and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) (200).

To be eligible for CUG services, organizations must provide several documents and meet specific requirements, including business registration records, signed contracts with the telecom provider, and proof of identification for CUG members.

These changes represent a significant shift in how CUG services are offered in Nigeria and are expected to have a substantial impact on the way people communicate within these closed user groups. The NCC’s aim is to ensure fair pricing and access for all users while eliminating the bundling of data with CUG services.

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