From 1 November, 2023, Nigerian telecommunication companies and service providers such as MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile will charge a uniform call rate of N50 per minute for Closed User Group (CUG) services.
It would be recalled that these telecom service providers offer CUG services that allow enrolled customer group members to enjoy lower call rates and free on-net calls by paying monthly access fees.
Giving the directective, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also banned telecom companies from bundling data with CUG plans.
Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, specifically said: “CUG rental/access fee must not be bundled with data, VAS, or other ancillary services. This directive effectively limits CUG plans to providing voice calls and text messages only.”
The NCC boss noted that, in addition to the call rate cap of N50 per minute for voice calls, it has set the price for text messages at N4 per SMS. Also, the minimum access fee for prepaid and postpaid CUG services has been established at N400, with a maximum price of N500 monthly.
The NCC equally introduced specific pricing thresholds for calls and text messages within and outside a CUG.
While streamlining CUG services, the NCC limited them to six subscriber categories, including large corporate organizations (with a limit of 30,000 phone lines), government agencies (20,000), not-for-profit organizations (10,000), duly registered residential estate associations (2,000), and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) (200).
CUG is a supplementary service provided by the mobile telecom operators to mobile subscribers who can make and receive calls from any member associated within the group. This service is applicable for SMS as well.