The National Communications Authority (NCA) has promised it will soon make the 4G spectrum available to mobile network operators that do not currently have access to the technology due to the regulator’s constraints.
Currently, MTN is the only telco that offers 4G to its customers – having purchased the spectrum in excess of US$67 million at an auction in 2015 by the NCA before rolling out a year later.
Rolling out the 4G service made MTN the only mobile telecom operator to run the service, further entrenching its position as the market leader in both data and voice subscription.
After a clamour by the other telecom operators to be granted some sort of access to deploy the 4G technology, the regulator – led by Joe Anokye as Director-General – has promised an equitable distribution of the 4G resource.
Speaking at a send-off party organised by the Ghana Chamber of Telecoms for ex-AirtelTigo boss Roshi Motman and ex-MTN Ghana boss Ebenezer Asante, Mr. Anokye said very soon the other telcos will be granted permission to deploy the fourth-generation technology.
“One of the hallmarks of a good regulator is predictability – making sure that there is equity in the ecosystem. There are things we are working on. I know that 4G spectrum has been a challenge, but we promise you that not too long from now you will hear from us.
“We will make sure there is equity or equitable access to 4G spectrum,” Mr. Anokye said at the gathering attended by top management of all the mobile network operators, as well as other heads of department under the Communication Ministry.
The move by the NCA suggests that MTN, which paid US$67.5million for the 4G licence, will still be granted some advantage over use of the technology for the sake of fairness.
The ceremony, which was held at the new offices of the Telecoms Chamber at Cantonments in Accra, saw the swearing-in of the Chamber’s new leadership.
New AirtelTigo CEO, Mitwa Kaemba Ng’ambi, takes over from Roshi Motman as Chair, while new MTN Ghana boss Selorm Adadevoh comes in as the new Vice-Chair in place of Ebenezer Asante.
The NCA DG lauded the outgoing telco bosses for their achievements and assured the incoming ones of continuous cooperation from the NCA to ensure progress of the industry.
“We often jaw-jaw in heated debates in the boardroom, but the bottom line is that we are seeking the industry’s progress and we will continue working together to achieve that,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Communications, George Nenyi Andah, also assured telcos of the ministry’s commitment to working with all industry players for the public’s benefit.
“We are committed to mutual respect within the ecosystem. We can agree to disagree sometimes, but what is important is when a decision is yours to make we will allow you to make it – and when a decision is ours to make, we will expect that you support us as well,” he said.