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Telcos To Provide Fixed-Line Services
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The National Communication Authority (NCA) is set to introduce Ghana's first unified access service licence onto the market to enable mobile network operators and broadband wireless service providers to participate in the fixed telephony markets.

This will make Ghana the fourth country in Africa after Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda to grant converged or unified access service licences.

The authorisation fee for the unified access licence has been set at GH₵600,000.

The B&FT understands the decision by the NCA to veer into the unified licencing regime is to unlock growth by allowing operators to choose technology most suited to their needs, and thus the NCA allowed mobile phone operators an opportunity to venture into the fixed-line environment as well as value added services.

More so, technological advancement has blurred the old distinction between fixed and mobile services, which has informed the regulator to open the market and allow all telecom operators to participate in the different segments of the market in line with the country's National Telecom Policy.

Hitherto, the NCA granted separate fixed, mobile and broadband licences to businesses with an eye on the telecom sector.

"The decision to authorise the network operators to provide fixed telephony services in addition to mobile telephony will achieve a number of the objectives outlined in the National Telecom Policy.

"An objective of the policy is to fully open competitive markets for all telecommunications services, to ensure Universal Access Service, and to promote efficient and effective regulation of the telecommunications industry on a transparent, technology-neutral and non-discriminatory basis," the NCA said its statement of intention issued last week.

Currently, there are six telephony operators in Ghana’s market space, with Airtel and Vodafone as the only fixed-line operators with a combined market of 261,000 subscribers as at October last year.

The mobile telephony subscriber market is now more than 30 million in a country with an estimated population of about 26.5 million.

The NCA, which has now opened bids for the licence, says the authorisation will be granted to mobile network operators which express interest in the granting of fixed access services for the unexpired term of the duration of their existing Cellular Mobile Licence to deploy Fixed Service and other value added services to customers.

"Phase Two is where the Authority will renew by way of substituting the existing individual Fixed and Cellular Mobile Licenses with a Unified Access Service Licence," the NCA added.

However, the NCA says broadband wireless providers that want to acquire the unified access licence will be granted the authorisation after they have met the roll-out conditions contained in their licences.
Source: B&FT

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