Expresso Telecom customers to port to other networks after license revocation
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
Subscribers of Ghana’s fifth network provider, Expresso will no long get to use their 028 numbers unless they port numbers to other networks.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) said that it had officially revoked the license of Kasapa Telecoms Limited; operators of 028 numbers under the Expresso telecom brand since March 15, 2018, hence the advice from the regulator to port their numbers to other networks.
In 1993, Celltel Limited was licensed to provide telecommunications services. The brand name Celltel later became Kasapa, now Expresso.
The licence was for Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), which is an analogue network on a frequency 850MHz but it was converted to Code Division Multiple Access CDMA 2000 1X in 2005 within the same frequency.
When the company name changed to Kasapa Telecoms Limited, it was granted a Mobile Cellular Licence on December 2, 2004, for a period of fifteen (15) years, scheduled to expire on December 1, 2019.
But the NCA said, owing to a plethora of breaches of its licensing conditions, the company was first given notice of intention to terminate the Mobile Cellular Licence, and termination was subsequently carried out on March 15, 2018.
The regular explained that the revocation was done pursuant to Section 13 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775), citing a number reasons for the revocation.
The reasons for the revocation include default of payment of annual regulatory fees since 2014, inability to offer licensed services and coverage obligations since 2014, and engagement in anticompetitive practices by terminating/transiting international traffic as domestic traffic on other networks (SIMBOX fraud).
The other reason were failure to settle fees for usage of microwave frequencies, inability to meet financial obligations to other Operators in respect of Interconnection payments, and failure to meet financial obligations to Porting XS, the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Service Provider
According to the NCA, Expresso also switched off their network without due notice to the regulator, adding that as far as the regular is concerned, Expresso does not have any subscription since the network is no longer in operation.
"Due to the existence of MNP, Kasapa subscribers have the choice to port their 028 numbers to networks of their choice," it said.
NCA said the spectrum withdrawn from Kasapa, a portion of which is good for 4G LTE, will be re-allocated for use considering economic and broader social value.
Meanwhile, all licenses are for 15 years, which means MTN and Vodafone are also up for renewal of their 2G licenses this year as their licenses are due to expire December 2019.
Tigo was also due for renewal of its 2G license this, but because of the merger with Airtel, it has gained some two years grace period under the wings of Airtel till October 2021.
But for 3G licenses, all four operators, MTN, Vodafone, AirtelTigo and Glo, are due for the renewal in January, 2024.
The NCA said telcos who wish to renew their license must put in an application three months before the license expires, and those who do not wish to renew their license must give the regulator three years' notice.