Edward Omane Boamah, Ghana’s Minister of Communications, has reportedly hinted that the National Communications Authority (NCA) has created four new licence categories: Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), Unified, Interconnect Clearinghouse and International Wholesale Traffic (IWT), with a view to boosting competition. According to Ghana Web, the minister disclosed that the aforementioned authorisations would each be open for competitive bidding, although he stopped short of revealing when they would be put up for grabs. No further details were revealed regarding the precise number of licences to be issued under each category, nor the obligations of the telcos and potential amendments to the regulation framework; an official announcement is expected to be published next week. Previously, the NCA announced in July 2013 that it was planning to start issuing MVNO licences, prompting a number of Ghanaian companies to submit authorisation requests; the NCA subsequently suspended the process.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Ghana’s wireless market is home to six mobile operators – MTN Ghana, Vodafone, Millicom Ghana (Tigo), Airtel, Glo Mobile and Expresso – and around 35+ internet service providers (ISPs). All of the cellcos have been awarded mobile cellular licences and also hold international gateway licence authorisations (except Expresso). However, only two providers – Vodafone and Airtel – are licensed to provide fixed telephony and broadband services. The potential introduction of a Unified Licence would level the playing field by allowing all of Ghana’s mobile network operators (MNOs) to also provide fixed line services.