Graphic Business News

Review 4G/LTE pricing policy • Broadband Chamber urges govt

By: Kester Aburam Korankye

The Broadband Communications Chamber (BBCC) has called on the Ministry of Communications to review the current pricing policy for the 4G/LTE spectrum.

According to BBCC, an advocacy group that champions the development and expansion of the broadband industry, the current cost of the 4G /LTE spectrum, which stands at some US$67.5 million, was too high and stifled universal broadband access.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the chamber, Mr Gustav Tamakloe, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on August 17 that the current pricing was a stumbling block to the benefits that the country could gain from a wider broadband access.

 “Better spectrum pricing policies are needed in developing countries to improve the economic and social welfare of the billions of people that remain unconnected to mobile broadband services” he said.

Increase local participation
The broadband chamber said it was convinced that the Communications Ministry would ensure an equitable playing field by enacting policies that would increase local participation in the broadband industry.

The Vice-President of Ghana, Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, in his keynote address at the 10 Years Anniversary Dinner of Vodafone Ghana on 18th July, 2018, stated emphatically that government would do everything possible to ensure that Vodafone was able to deploy the 4G spectrum for the benefit of its customers and Ghanaians.

“The chamber would like to call on government to do “Everything Possible” to increase local participation in the broadband industry,” he said.

Telcos lament cost
Currently,  MTN is the only network operator to acquire one of the 4G spectrums from the National Communications Authority(NCA).

The rest of the telecommunications providers have cited the cost of US$67.5 million needed to acquire the spectrum as too high.

According to the data service providers, these costs had stifled growth in the industry, making it difficult for them to acquire and provide such service to customers.

The deployment of such services, however, will afford customers of telecommunications companies more benefits as it will provide faster and convenient data services.

The BBCC and other industry watchers believe that a reduction in the cost of the 4G/LTE will increase the number of service providers, drive up healthy competition and internet speeds and drive down the cost of browsing the Internet for consumers.

No end in sight
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr George Andah, has maintained that not much could be done about the price of the spectrum.

Speaking at the launch of the Africa Regional Development Forum,in June this year, Mr Andah explained that the telcos would be the ultimate benefactors of the spectrum if it was maintained at its current price.

“In every industry, every player would want the cost of whatever infrastructure or licenses they use to operate to come down. We believe that the cost is fair, and if there is new information that requires for a relook at it, we will have a look at it,” he explained. — GB