Interview

We want to address power tariffs; it’s killing operators. Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, CEO, GHANA TELECOMS CHAMBER

KWAKU SAKYI-ADDO, CEO, GHANA TELECOMS CHAMBER

 

Mr. Kwaku A. Sakyi-Addo was appointed the first CEO of the newly-established Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications in May 2011.  The Chamber, comprising six international mobile operators, seeks to influence policy and advance the development of the telecoms industry in Ghana.

Until his appointment Sakyi-Addo was consulting General Manager (Communications) of Aqua Vitens Rand, a Dutch-South African company awarded a management contract for the state-owned Ghana Water Company from 2007.  He played a key role towards ensuring the full completion of the company’s five-year contract in Ghana.

In this exclusive interview Kwaku the pioneering CEO of the chamber speaks to MobileWorld on the current industry issues and the chamber long term plans.

Tell us about Ghana Telecoms Chamber

The Chamber is a private initiative by the mobile telecom operators.  Its an industry forum; it seeks to influence telecoms policy, legislation and regulation. As players in the industry, the input of operators in evolving a policy framework, and working hand in hand with other stakeholders to shepherd the industry towards growth and for the development of Ghana is fundamental.

What necessitated the need to setup this Chamber?

Well, individual operators discovered that despite being competitors, there were issues that were common to them.  There was a dawning that these problems were best tackled if they pooled energies and resources rather than if they divided and dissipated them.

How is your operations funded

Funding comes from subscriptions paid by members.

What level of support do you envisage from NCA and Ministry of Communication?

We have a healthy working relationship with the NCA and the Ministry of Communications.  Of course, in that relationship we have disagreements sometimes, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  This is natural between players and referees.

What should be subscriber’s expectations of your Chamber?

Our members have a commitment to delivering world-class services in partnership with the regulator and policy-makers. You see, access and quality are also a function of the environment. Therefore with the right environment — and we believe that there’s enough goodwill among our partners for that to evolve — subscribers can expect world class telecoms services. Our vision as a Chamber is to be the voice of the most respected industry in Ghana.

Do you see the operators having common goals on issues despite the competition that abound in the sector?

The Chamber is founded on the basis of co-opetition, ie. Co-operation and competiton; that is co-operation among members on matters of common interest, without sacrificing competition.

What is your view on Sim card registration and number portability?

We believe number portability was well-executed. Subscribers can now port without losing their number, and without much hassle.

Sim registration has been successful in one sense: that nearly every sim card was registered. The key problem has been validation of ID documents.  This is, primarily, due to the absence of a national identification platform and an efficient system of ID verification. Even so, mobile operators committed substantial resources — something in the region of GhC20 million (US$15m) for sim registration because our members were and are committed to support the regulator and the government towards achieving the set objectives.

What are your expectations for this year?

We want to address power tariffs; it’s killing operators.  We need to drastically reduce the incidence of cable cuts and thefts; it hurts access to networks and the reputation of our members. We must rationalize levies and fees charged by local authorities on mobile infrastructure. Last year, we introduced the Chamber and started building bridges to stakeholders.  This year, we will go across the bridge and engage with all who have a piece of the puzzle in order to put together an even better picture of the telecoms industry in Ghana.

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