– They can now spread 3G wider

The Network of Communications Reporter (NCR) has lauded National Communication Authority (NCA) for permitting all telcos in the country to use their 900MHz spectrum to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunication Systems (UMTS) and offer affordable 3G service in the unserved and underserved areas.

The NCA recently announced that it is going to authorise telcos to use their 900MHz spectrum band for free. This was originally licensed specifically for 2G services, to deploy UMTS, which is a 3G technology.

The NCA said it chose to give the authorization for free to enable telcos deploy the technology at less cost so they could spread affordable 3G connectivity nationwide, particularly in the unserved and underserved areas.

In a statement jointly signed by NCR Dean, Mr Charles Benoni Okine and Liaison Officer, Mr Samuel Dowuona, the network said the move by the NCA was laudable to the extent that it enables a wider spread of 3G at less cost to telcos, and that promises to make the service affordable for consumers.

“We are aware that telcos have separate 3G licenses on the 2100MHz spectrum band, but they have not been able to deploy infrastructure and spread the service nationwide because it cost relatively more to do so on that spectrum band,” the statement noted.

Indeed, it is estimated that aggregately, the telcos have deployed just about 30 per cent of their 3G capacities mainly up to the district capitals as required by their licensing conditions, and have not gone beyond enough.

This, the NCR observed, has denied a significant section of the population of 3G services and that contradicts the ITU’s global level ICT inclusion policy hinged on coverage and affordability.

NCR therefore sees this new authoritarian by the NCA, a very progressive one and urged all telcos to take advantage of it and apply for the permit to deploy the 3G technology on the 900MHz spectrum and offer affordable data services nationwide.

“We are also glad that this policy would offer the consumer the power of choice since each operator would now be able to afford the spread of 3G and therefore offer consumers an alternative anywhere and everywhere,” it said.

The statement said NCR sees this as a first step towards the realisation of the unified license policy, where all telcos would be licensed to deploy a full bouquet of technologies between 2G to 4G and even higher all in one license.

NCR said it also looks forward to seeing the telcos work even closer with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) to spread 3G infrastructure on GIFEC’s co-located towers across the deprived areas to ensure the expected affordable service is not depleted.

“While we laud the NCA for this progressive move, we also urge the regulator to consider authorising partnerships between telcos and broadband wireless access (BWA) license holders to unable a wider spread of 4G LTE technology to improve service quality for many more consumers across the country,” the statement said.

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