MTN wants to increase prices in Nigeria

MTN asked the Nigerian government to reverse a directive cancelling an increase in telecom tariffs implemented by operators last month, citing rising costs in the industry.

The local unit of Africa’s largest wireless carrier, the Lagos-listed MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, is engaging with the industry regulator to push through the price increase, Chief Executive Officer Karl Toriola said on an investor call on Monday.

The Nigerian Communications Commission this month ordered mobile companies to reverse the 10% tariff hike, citing the non-approval of its board. MTN started a phased implementation of the increase in mid-September, Toriola said.

Wireless-service providers in Nigeria are facing increased operating costs, with inflation accelerating to a 17-year high of 20.7% in September.

That’s been compounded by a weakening currency and a more than 200% jump in the price of diesel, which is required to power towers across the country due to the poor supply.

Besides soaring costs, the country’s largest telecom services provider is monitoring the impact of flooding on its operations, the CEO said, adding that the impact on the business has been “minimal.”

Nigeria’s worst floods in at least a decade are affecting 33 of the country’s 36 states and hampering businesses in agriculture and industries.

About 180,000 houses have been destroyed, and around 1.4 million acres of farmland have been damaged, according to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.