By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
Following recent debate over the operations of Over- the-Top (OTT) services and its impact on the revenue of the Telecoms industry in the Ghana, the industry regulator the National Communication Authority (NCA) has said in a statement issued in Accra that it will review the situation and will in due course take decisions for an enabling regulatory environment that will benefit all stakeholders including both the operator and consumer.
The statement signed by the Director-General of NCA, Mr. Willian Tevie, noted that impact of OTT Services on Telecom Industry.
“OTT providers make use of the Service Providers or Operators’ infrastructure to reach their customers and offer products/services that not only make money for them but also compete with the traditional services(voice, text and data) offered by the Service Providers or Operators. It is also generally accepted that the use of OTT services have contributed significantly to the growth of data service usage on networks”.
In the area of regulatory implications, The NCA believes that since OTT players are currently not under the purview of the telecom regulations in the country as they are not registered or recognized operating agencies under International Telecommunications Regulations, their operations also poses a threat to security and safety because of the very nature of the communications sector.
According to the NCA the challenges posed by OTT services from a national perspective warrants the need for the Authority to ensure proper regulatory balance and a level playing field in terms of regulatory compliance as well as the need to address the issues pertaining to security.
In going forward, the national regulator contend that it is thus becoming clear that, in future, the provision of services by OTT players will impact revenues of network operators in so far as their current business models are concerned.
“The NCA acknowledges that each of our stakeholders have specific concerns on this issue and as such is benchmarking with other countries. Whiles some have in a way regulated OTT services in extreme cases, other regulators have allowed its use and the Authority is keen to find out the benefits and disadvantages of this situation” it added
OTT Services include applications and services which are accessible over the internet and in some cases ride on operators’ networks numbering resources and internet access services. Examples of these are Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Twitter, Chat On, Snapchat, Instagram, Google Talk, Hike, Line, WeChat and Tango.