BATTLE IN EUROPE BETWEEN BIG TECH AND TELCO RAGES: HOW THIS MAY AFFECT NIGERIA
In Europe, big tech and telecommunication network regulators are currently mediating on charges and fees between the two giant industries, and this may affect Nigerians more than you think.
First, the Big Techs: who are the Big Techs and what are the services they provide?
"Big tech companies" refer to companies that operate within the scope of providing digital product consumers with apps for businesses, communication, and entertainment.
Some of the most popular ones include Google, Meta, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and a few others; most of the companies are 99% if not 100% American companies.
The telcos, on the other hand, are the telecommunications and internet service providers; in Nigeria, the major ones are MTN, GLO, Airtel, and 9mobile.
For a very long time, telecommunications providers have been demanding more money from the big techs.
According to France's Orange one of the major network providers in Europe, and its top board member and chief technology and innovation officer, Michael Trabbia, telecommunication providers are the gateway to big tech's existence.
It is true that no one can access big tech services without an internet connection, which is provided by telecom companies, and hence they believe they deserve a chunk of what the big techs are making.
But the big tech companies disagreed with that perspective. They called it "internet tax" to mean double charges, where the telecom companies charge both customers and providers.
They termed it "unfair" to the customers who have already paid for internet access and subscription services for some apps and will then be charged again for internet tax.
What does it mean for Nigerians?
Imagine you want to pay for your Netflix monthly subscription, and you realize the price has gone up.
The movie streaming channel tells you it is to pay for "internet tax." Many Nigerians will be devastated.
Nigerians already pay exorbitant fees for Internet usage. To enjoy Netflix in the country, you will need a minimum data subscription that costs N3000.
Given that the minimum wage in Nigeria is N30,000, that amounts to 10% of the average earner's income.
If the European telecommunication companies get approval in favor of the internet tax, Nigerian telecom providers will follow suit, and Nigerians will be affected.
Netflix Nigeria already has over 25,000 direct subscribers and thousands more indirect subscribers who joined with other people's login details.
This also means that the price of Apple products will go up. The company currently has over 10% of the market out of the 170 million internet users in Nigeria, and the cheapest Apple product goes for a minimum of N50,000.
Android users will also be affected, as the majority of the country's internet users are Android users who use inbuilt services from Google and Meta products like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
To get the latest as things develop, stick with Investingport's page for similar news and updates.
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