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Business News of Friday, 27 November 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

‘4G spectrums must remain in the hands of indigenous companies’

The Ghana ICT chamber has called on the National Communication Authority (NCA) as a matter of urgency to reverse its decision to award the 4G internet spectrum to foreign based companies.

According to the chamber, the attitude of the NCA can best be described as a move to kill the initiative of local ICT companies.

It argued that the decision of the NCA to award the spectrum to MTN, a foreign based company was tantamount to being hostile to indigenous Ghanaian companies.

Mr Paul Adom Otchere, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber at a press conference in Accra on Thursday said the NCA must give indigenous companies the opportunity to develop the local ICT industry.

The NCA has commenced the process to auction a new 800 MGX spectrum that has become available as a result of the digital migration.

But speaking at the press conference Mr Otchere said the spectrum was a precious national asset that should not fall into the hands of foreign based companies.

He called for the auction process to be reversed to an earlier policy that allowed only Ghanaian companies to bid for the spectrum. He said local consortiums were willing to raise the $83 million required to complete the digital migration process.

He maintained that the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) space which is the next-generation ICT technology powering 4G Internet, to Mobile Network Operators is the future of mobile phone industry in Ghana and that the NCA must offer the spectrum to a local Ghanaian consortium that would offer capacity of the 4G to all the Telecom companies including MTN and Vodafone which in the long run will enhance competition and subsequently drive the price down.

Reiterating the need for wholly Ghanaian ownership, Mr Otchere said the spectrum must remain in Ghanaian hands and that it will be bad for foreign based companies to own and control a national asset and if the NCA should go ahead with its decision, it will have a long term repercussion on the ICT industry.

He explained that no country in any part of the world has ever awarded its spectrum to a foreign based company. He added that if the spectrum is awarded to MTN for 15 years as the tender suggests, a clear God given opportunity to develop the local ICT industry would have been lost.