NCA sets new timetable for digital dividend auction

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Ghana’s telecom regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has revised its time table for the sale of LTE spectrum in the 800 MHz Band (Digital Dividend).

Instead of the November 18th and 24th auction date followed by the announcement of the winner on the 25th of November 2015, the new dates for the 800 MHz  band are the 1st and 3rd of December, after which the ultimate winner will be announced officially on Monday, the 7th of December this year.

According to the NCA, the revision was done in pursuant to section 4.4 of the selection and award procedure for licenses in the mobile services in the 800 MHz band.

Meanwhile four companies including Scancom Ghana Limited (MTN), Surfline Communications Limited, Goldkey Telecom Limited and Migson Communications Limited have expressed interest in the license thus meeting the deadline date of the application.

The regulator has indicated in a release on its official website that it shall proceed to assess the eligibility of the above mentioned applicants for the award of the license before inviting them to participate in the auction.

As part of the eligibility criteria for the auction, applicants are expected to have their companies registered under the laws of Ghana, and be duly certified to operate in Ghana. Companies with foreign ownership shall have a minimum of 35% indigenous Ghanaian ownership in the applying Entity; be it a company, a joint venture or consortium.

NCA insists that applicants who do not meet this criteria at the time of applying should submit a letter of commitment, signed by the Authorised Representative, to have the minimum 35% Ghanaian ownership in place within 13months from the effective date of the licence, failing which the licence duration shall be reduced by 2years in the first instance of the deadline and by an additional 1year for each year in which the Ghanaian ownership threshold is violated.

They are also required to register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) before commencement of service in accordance with Section 24 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, 2013 (Act 865) if the entities are foreign owned.

However the National Communications Authority (NCA) in connection with the auction process of the 800 MHz Band has appointed audit firm KPMG as the auctioneer. KPMG will be responsible for managing the process leading up to the auction and the actual auction. This involves setting out the rules of the Auction and ensuring an independent and transparent process.

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