Ghana IT firms raise red flag against sale of LTE Spectrum to MNOs
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
Ghanaian IT companies have raised a series of objections against the sale of the 800 MHz “Digital Dividend” to Mobile Network Operators (MN0s) who are all multinational companies in the country. The industry regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA), planned to auction the 800MHz spectrum to be released following migration of broadcasters from analogue to digital and use the proceeds from the sale for the payment of a contract sum of US$82.3M, for the government to enter into an agreement with local IT firm contractor K-Net to complete the Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) network project in twelve months.
The Ghana ICT Chamber, a body of local Ghanaian IT firms, has petitioned and asked the ministry of communication not to sell the 800 MHz LTE spectrum to Mobile Network Operators as a way of protecting indigenous IT firms who are currently operating in that space and have already spent a colossal amount of USD 200 million.
According to the ICT Chamber it could not fathom why the government want to auction such an important asset of the state to Mobile Network Operators who on many occasions have performed abysmally, even when it comes to its performance on the 3G space. “The Mobile Network Operators performance on the 3G space has been dismal with a mere 34 % penetration after a decade of operations with low quality of service,” it stated.
The Chamber strongly pointed out that with introduction of MTOs in the 800 LTE spectrum space in the country, the dreams of having a Ghanaian owned ICT Industry is destroyed, since the financial depth and existing subscriber access of MTOs privileges them to outcompete and collapse the local LTE companies.
It is further believes that it’s time the government protects and nurtures indigenous businesses to become multinationals of tomorrow's Ghana, thus putting competent Ghanaian firms in the fore of the data space, which is seen as a game changer.
Chamber President Paul Adom Otchere has already hinted the Chamber’s preparedness to raise the amount of USD83 million for the government to enable local Ghanaian companies retain the 800 MHz LTE spectrum.