27th April 2017

Information Ministry and NATCOM on Joint Mobile and Internet Tariffs

By a press release (08/04/17)

The Ministry of Information and Communications and the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) have joint plans for tariffs.

Reports say the role of the Ministry of Information and Communications and NATCOM have been made clear and it shows that they have the responsibility to respect the tariffs on mobile telephones and Internet Services Providers (ISP). Information Minister Mohamed Bangura).

The Telecommunications Act 2006 as amended under functions of the commission stipulates that NATCOM is responsible for tariffs chargeable for the provision of telecommunications services (9 sub-section2 (K)).  

In implementation of this function, the Minister of Information and Communications' role is limited to ensuring that NATCOM provides an enabling environment for the operations of the telecommunications players (telecommunications Operators and ISPs) notwithstanding, the Telecommunications Act 2006 as amended provides NATCOM autonomy in performing it's responsibility. 

It is the responsibility of NATCOM to alter or impose tariffs chargeable and they are not bound by law to seek permission. 

Referring to allegations on social media in regards to the issue of increase in tariff, the Minister of Information and Communications cannot be held responsible for mobile communications tariffs which under section 10 of the Telecommunications Act 2006 as amended is the exclusive mandate of the regulator, not subjected to the direction or control of any person or authority. 

The Act of 2006 as amended also gave the regulator the mandate to protect both operators and consumers from unfair conduct with regards to quality of service and tariffs payable in respect of service delivery. 

Although it can be argued that this is the responsibility of the Minister to ensure that the Ministry and Regulator have the capacity to perform their functions fairly. 

While there are issues arising from the implementation of certain aspects of the ACT, the Minister is in the process of reviewing the National ICT Policy presently tabled before Cabinet which will subsequently address some or all of these issues raised on social media.

Courtesy: New Media Communications

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