The National Communications Authority is implementing policies to ensure that there is a level playing ground for all operators in the country. The implementation of the new policy was directed by the Ministry of Communication after research showed that there was a huge imbalance in the sector which was cleating a near-monopoly situation in the country.
The new directive if implemented will hit MTN hard having in mind that it controls about 75% of the telecommunications market share. Communications Minister Ursula Owusu acknowledged the efforts made by MTN and the huge investments they have made in the sector. She however noted that the companies’ dominance was negatively impacting the competition and consumer choice and that action was required.
In a press release, Ursula Owusu noted that: “This imbalance potentially exposes the country to the dictates of the dominant operator and negatively impacts on competition and choice for the consumer as well as investments within the sector.
“The policy is, therefore, aimed at ensuring proper and healthy competition among telecommunications players, secure a much better pricing policy for the consumers, and facilitate a sound regulatory regime.”
She went on to all that: “We have come a long way in a very dynamic industry which has seen ancestors of all the current operators being the dominant player at one stage. Ghana Telecom, Mobitel, now MTN.
“Measures taken then to open up the market to ensure fairer competition, though unpleasant to the dominant player then, eventually enured to the benefit of the consumer and resulted in the vibrant telecom sector of today. This will also have the same result over time. It is corrective and not punitive.”
To correct this imbalance, the NCA will apply the following measures in the exercise of its regulatory mandate:
Asymmetrical Interconnect rate in favour of the disadvantaged operators.
The setting of floor/ceiling pricing on all minutes, data, SMS, Mobile Money, etc.
Review and approve all pricing by the SMP as required by law.
Require SMP not to have differential prices for on-net and off-net transactions.
Ensure various operator vendors are not subject to exclusionary pricing or behavior.
Ensure that SMP’s access to information does not disadvantage any value-added service of non-SMP operators.
Require operators to present implementation plans on National Roaming Services within the next 30 days for execution on or before the next 90 days.