Home Opinion Featured Articles Navigating Ghana’s Telecom Turbulence: The Shared 4G, 5G Initiative

Navigating Ghana’s Telecom Turbulence: The Shared 4G, 5G Initiative

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Elephant-5G
Elephant-5G

In Ghana’s dynamic telecom landscape, every policy decision seems to encounter resistance, often from vested interests masquerading as guardians of integrity.

Even seemingly consumer-friendly measures, like removing data bundle expiry dates, face unwarranted pushback. So, it’s no surprise that the government’s move to establish a shared 4G/5G digital public infrastructure (DPI) through a public-private partnership special purpose vehicle (SPV) has stirred controversy.

Addressing Concerns:

  1. SPV Formation: Critics have questioned the timing of the SPV creation, just a week before presidential approval. However, the expertise of the SPV’s constituent entities, evident from their profiles, instills confidence in their ability to execute the mandate effectively.
  2. Licensing Costs: Contrary to misconceptions, the NGIC license’s total cost exceeds US$100 million, payable over ten years in instalments. This approach allows initial funds to be allocated to capital expenditure, benefiting future development projects.
  3. Selection of Partners: While the criteria for selecting local entities as partners remains unclear, trust in their capabilities to fulfill their mandates underscores confidence in the consortium’s success.

Support for Shared Infrastructure:

The telecom market’s skewed structure, with MTN Ghana wielding significant power, necessitates a paradigm shift towards shared infrastructure. Auctioning spectrum to the highest bidders exacerbates market imbalances, hindering smaller players’ growth. The government’s decision to opt for a shared infrastructure model aligns with industry consensus and fosters equitable growth.

A Call for Unity:

Industry players, including market leaders like MTN Ghana, advocate for shared infrastructure as a catalyst for industry growth. The initiative aims to rectify market imbalances and promote fair competition, benefiting consumers and fostering innovation.

Policy Continuity:

The initiative mirrors the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) manifesto promise, highlighting bipartisan support for shared infrastructure as a driver of industry growth. Continuity in policy implementation assures stakeholders of a stable regulatory environment conducive to investment and innovation.

Addressing Concerns:

Security concerns regarding 5G kit suppliers, like Huawei, and accountability for service quality issues warrant careful consideration and robust regulatory frameworks.

Moving Forward:

With government holding shares in NGIC and the involvement of reputable international and local partners, the initiative holds promise for Ghana’s telecom sector. Transparent communication and collaboration among stakeholders will be pivotal in realizing the shared vision of a vibrant, inclusive telecom ecosystem.

Facts at a Glance:

  • NGIC’s spectrum license cost exceeds US$100 million, payable in instalments over ten years.
  • Government holds 7.5% shares in NGIC, with telcos offered a total of 25% and remaining shares held by key project financiers.
  • The consortium comprises international players like Nokia and local entities like K-NET and Ascend Digital, reflecting a diverse and robust partnership.

In navigating Ghana’s telecom turbulence, the shared 4G/5G initiative emerges as a beacon of collaborative progress, poised to unlock the sector’s full potential for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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