NCA raises tariffs exchange rates to save mobile network operators

NCA raises tariffs exchange rates to save mobile network operators

The National Communication Authority (NCA) has raised tariff exchange rates to save mobile network operators and ensure the provision of quality services.

The Director General of the National Communication Authority, Napoleon Adok Gai, said in a press statement issued on Friday that the decision was reached upon request tendered by mobile network operators seeking to review the 2020 tariffs exchange rate.

Mobile operators have been facing challenges attributed to inflation and the rise in oil prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related factors, making it hard to sustain generators as well as pay for satellite connectivity.

“Understanding the suffering of the people of South Sudan due to global inflation, NCA has been reluctant to adjust the tariffs exchange rate,” Adok said.

“However, our attempt to control the current exchange rate at SSP 300 to the dollar was unsustainable for the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) because we are demanding them to provide quality network coverage across the country.”

The rate will now stand at a base rate of SSP 600 per dollar, and will be liable to review should there be necessary changes in the currency exchange rate.

“This adjustment aims to gradually take the exchange rate for telecommunication tariffs to be at the same level as the Bank of South Sudan. The published exchange rate by the Bank of South Sudan as of 10/08/2022 was 668 to 1 USD. This change on weekly basis but SSP 600 has been holding as the base rate,” he continued.

“The Authority would like to emphasise that these exchange rate adjustments are subject to review should the Central Bank exchange rate fall below SSP 600.”

“To ensure that the new exchange rate is rolled out in a pocket-friendly process, the authority has come up with a scaling modality that will be implemented within 90 days starting from 15th September to 15th December 2022.”

In November 2020, NCA raised tariffs but complaints came up that this did not translate into improved services. For instance, a resident of Ezo County, Western Equatoria State, John Masmino, 52, argued that there was no need of increasing tariffs given the occasional poor network coverage.

“We cannot say we have a good network. Even here in Juba, I do experience regular call drops. Why should they increase the tariffs when the network is very poor all the time?” Masmino asked.

Sarah Juan, a resident of the Jonduru residential area, Juba, said tariffs exchange rate adjustments make calls expensive. Mr Gai called on the mobile network operators should be adherent to laws.