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Telecom Companies Summoned Over SIM Box Fraud   
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Reports available to The General Telegraph indicated that the Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah has summoned an emergency marathon meeting with the players in the telecom industry.

The meeting which is scheduled to take place today, would be attended by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, officials from the National Communications Authority (NCA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Subah Infosulutions Limited and others. According to the information, the meeting was intended to finalize government’s intention of engaging a new company, Afriwave to take over the operations of the Subah Infosolutions, that has joined forces with the NCA together with the Criminal Investigative Department to fight simbox fraud.

Deep throat sources explained to this paper that when the government has given an approval to Afriwave Ghana Limited, a wholly Ghanaian owned company to operate while the regulators, NCA has also written to the Subah to suspend its operations, GRA unknowingly has renewed the mandate of the Subah. Sources further revealed that when the government opened tender, five companies participated in the bid including Subah but Afriwave won the bid and has started its installations.

In order to fight the turf war, Hon Debrah, has called for the meeting today to settle the matters to bring sanity into the system. It was argued that the contradictions that exist between the GRA and the NCA is non-antagonist hence government’s move to settle the matters. Dr Omane Boamah, Minister of Communication that has oversight responsibility over the NCA would also be in attendance.

It was reported on Monday that the Ghana ICT Chamber has raised an alarm over the intention of the National Communications Authority (NCA) to sell next generation spectrum to foreign-owned telecom companies. The move, according to the chamber, whose membership includes Surfline Communications, Gold Key Telecoms and Blu Telecoms, amounted to what it described as the “NCA’s broken promises to ring fence the deployment of next generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) capacity to Ghanaian-owned companies only”.

But the Director-General of the NCA, Mr William Tevie, in a sharp rebuttal, refuted the allegations, claiming that the move was well intended to improve Internet penetration in the country. However, the chamber argued that the move, if carried out by the industry regulator, would cause members of the chamber to lose more than the US$200 million they had so far invested in their businesses, out of which nothing had yet been recouped as return on investment (ROI).

Various document sighted by The General Telegraph stated among others that everything was done within the confines of the law to warrant the new company Afriwave to start the operation to help fight not only simbox fraud but also many others. The NCA has officially written to the Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited to vacate the NCA premises with effect from yesterday.

Afriwave Ghana Limited, a wholly Ghanaian company with Laurisia Associates as its integration partner, Huawei and Muecci as its technology partners won the bid to be licensed as the Clearinghouse Services Provider in Ghana for the next ten years. Afriwave provided the most satisfactory responses against four other competitive applicants. The Clearinghouse is expected to be established by May 2015 and be fully operational by December 2015. The Clearinghouse Services will provide the common platform for monitoring volumes of all telecom traffic as per Act 864, reduce cost of interconnect for Service Providers and Value Added Service Providers, enable the interconnectivity with other switches, host Over-The-Top (OTT) services, provide subscriber and equipment identity services as well as transit all national and international calls.

Afriwave has been engaged in several telecoms projects in Ghana since 1999. Prominent among them is the installation of fixed and broadband systems for the then Ghana Telecoms (now Vodafone) since 2006 and a contract to do fault clearance and maintenance for the same company in 2011. Afriwave also carried out a number of projects for Zain Ghana (now Airtel Ghana). This includes the migration of fixed Line customers from Western telecommunications (Westel) network to that of the Zain in 2008, building of generator brick houses and the deployment of GSM Payphone in Secondary schools across the country in September 2010 which is still ongoing having deployed over 1150 payphones so far. Also is the co-location of seven sites of Airtel to Vodafone sites in 2010. The company’s experience extends to international telephone traffic which would be critical in the execution of one of the major functions of the clearing house, monitoring of international traffic.

Between 2004 and 2007, it assisted Vodafone to detect fixed telephone lines used to illegally terminate international calls in Ghana on the network – a phenomenon not any different from the current challenge of SIM Box fraud.
Source: The General Telegraph

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