Four of the five telecom companies have paid a total of GH¢950,000, being the penalty imposed on them for providing poor quality services for their subscribers.
That followed a stern directive from the Ministry of Communications which gave them 24 hours to pay up or face sanctions.
The four companies are MTN, the market leader in the telecom industry in Ghana, tiGO, Vodafone and Airtel, all multinationals. The Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr Paarock Vanpercy, who confirmed this to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, however, fell short of mentioning the fifth industry player which was yet to fully comply with the directive.
"Of the five operators, four have paid in full and one has part-paid, with the undertaking to complete payment shortly," he said.
However, independent checks by the Daily Graphic revealed that Expresso, which was fined GH¢350,000, had paid part of the amount and subsequently pleaded for time to enable it to settle its penalty in full.
There has been a lot of drama between the sector ministry and the telecoms chamber over the issue since the Daily Graphic broke the news on the penalty and the subsequent publication of the amounts paid in compliance with the directive as of last week.
But Mr Vanpercy said, "Regrettably, this is all rather unnecessary drama.” "Quality of service measurements have been with us for a while now and to play it out in such a standoff manner detracts from the relevance of what we are trying to achieve as a regulator," he added.
MTN, which maintains its lead as the country’s biggest mobile phone company with about 10 million subscribers, representing about 48.55 per cent of the market as of the end of September this year, was fined GH¢300,000.
Its poor quality service was noticed in the Upper East, Upper West, Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo regions.
Airtel, the country’s fourth largest telecom operator, suffered the heaviest fine of GH¢350,000.
Expresso, whose subscriber base dipped from 244,674 in January to 206,606 in August this year, defaulted in its service quality in the Western, Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo regions. Vodafone, which also defaulted in its service quality in the Western, Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo regions, was fined GH¢150,000.
The second largest operator, tiGO, was fined GH¢100,000 for defaulting in the Western and the three northern regions. When the Daily Graphic enquired from the telcos why they paid the penalties, after contesting the technical methodology used by the NCA in arriving at its results, they openly declined comment, except to say that they paid up under protest.
They further indicated that they were in negotiations over the matter with the industry regulator.
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