The Broadband Communications Chamber (BBCC), an advocacy group for the development and expansion of the broadband industry welcomes the National Communications Authority’s (NCA) promise to ensure an equitable playing field in the 4G telecom space.
“We welcome the announcement coming from the Director-General of the NCA, Mr. Joe Anokye who was speaking at an event organized by the Ghana Chamber of Telecoms on 31st July, 2018, with the understanding that ensuring equitable playing field means that all players in the industry play by the same set of rules thereby ensuring uniformity and fairness,” BBCC said in a statement.
The Broadband Chamber is ready to engage the NCA and other stakeholders in ironing out disparities in the 4G/LTE space which we believe has led to the current unfair playing field, particularly an array of issues having to do with the pricing, licensing regimes and localization. It is however confusing to note a most recent comment by the Ministry of Communications reaffirming its position to maintain the cost of the 4G/LTE spectrum at $67.5 million – with the Deputy Communications Minister, Mr. George Andah speaking at the launch of the Africa Regional Development Forum on the 18th of July, 2018 stated that not much can be done about the price of the spectrum.
This current pricing policy is unfortunate and goes only to limit the numerous benefits including better healthcare, education and simply making it harder to eradicate poverty and the achievement of financial inclusion, gender equity and Universal Broadband Access. Better spectrum pricing policies are needed in developing countries to improve the economic and social welfare of the billions of people that remain unconnected to mobile broadband services, according to a report, ‘Spectrum Pricing in Developing Countries’, released at the Mobile 360 – Africa conference in Kigali on 17th July, 2018 by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).
The Broadband Chamber believes that Government can do a lot in not only ensuring an equitable playing field but also enact additional policies that can increase Local Participation in the Broadband industry – it will be recalled that the Vice President of Ghana, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia in his keynote address at the Ten Year Anniversary Dinner of Vodafone Ghana on 18th July, 2018, stated emphatically that Government will do everything possible to ensure Vodafone is able to deploy 4G spectrum for the benefit of its customers and Ghanaians.
The Chamber would like to call on Government to do “Everything Possible” to increase Local Participation in the Broadband industry. Again the Chamber applauds MTN Ghana’s ongoing initial public offering (IPO) for Ghanaians to own 35 per cent of the company’s shares as part of its localization program.
The Broadband Chamber looks forward to NCA’s announcement in earnest with the hope of arriving at the much-needed clarity, understanding, transparent and globally sound practices for the broadband industry.