Ghana to offer unified access service licences

Airtel and Vodafone were the only fixed-line operators in the country
Telcos to provide fixed-line services in Ghana

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The National Communication Authority (NCA) is set to introduce Ghana's first unified access service licence onto the market to enable mobile network operators and broadband wireless service providers to participate in the fixed telephony markets.

This will make Ghana the fourth country in Africa after Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda to grant converged or unified access service licences. The NCA, which has now opened bids for the licence, says the authorisation will be granted to mobile network operators which express interest in the granting of fixed access services for the unexpired term of the duration of their existing Cellular Mobile Licence to deploy Fixed Service and other value added services to customers.

"The decision to authorise the network operators to provide fixed telephony services in addition to mobile telephony will achieve several aims outlined in the National Telecom Policy.

"An objective of the policy is to fully open competitive markets for all telecommunications services, to ensure Universal Access Service, and to promote efficient and effective regulation of the telecommunications industry on a transparent, technology-neutral and non-discriminatory basis," the NCA said.

"Phase Two is where the Authority will renew by way of substituting the existing individual Fixed and Cellular Mobile Licenses with a Unified Access Service Licence," the NCA added.

However, the NCA says broadband wireless providers that want to acquire the unified access licence will be granted the authorisation after they have met the roll-out conditions contained in their licences. 

Currently, there are six telephony operators in Ghana’s market space, with Airtel and Vodafone as the only fixed-line operators with a combined market of 261,000 subscribers as at October last year.

The mobile telephony subscriber market is now more than 30 million in a country with an estimated population of about 26.5 million.

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