One network cannot dominate Ghana’s Telco space- Govt takes steps to break MTN’s ‘monopoly’

The Ministry of Communication has announced it is taking frantic steps to break the near monopoly MTN Ghana enjoys as its dominance is not helpful for the growth of the Ghana Telco space.

In a statement released Sunday, it emerged that almost 92% of Ghana’s 4G spectrum is covered by MTN while the rest of the Telcos and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) share the rest, a situation the ministry said was untenable.

The government has therefore directed the National Communications Authority (NCA) to enforce provisions of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) and the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP) to address disparities in market and revenue share in the telecommunications sector.

Madam Ursula Owusu Minister of Communication says the goal of the new system is not meant to break MTN as a business  (Significant Market Power [SMP]), but rather to “ensure various operator vendors were not subject to exclusionary pricing or behaviour, ensure that SMP’s access to information did not disadvantage any value added service of non-SMP operators and require operators to present implementation plans on national roaming services within the next 30 days for execution on or before the next 90 days”.

The minister’s statement added that the measures were to kick in immediately, and that the NCA was expected to work with all network operators which must cooperate to ensure it was done painlessly.

“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 inured 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,” the Minister’s statement added.

The implementation of the policy will offer choice to consumers with the stimulation of innovative products and promotions, give consumers the power to switch service providers for other experiences and not restrict them to the largest provider. It will also give consumers the choice to work with non-SMP operators.

In addition to that, it will create a catalyst for passive infrastructure sharing within the industry, especially for national roaming services, and increase service choice for consumers within areas where SMP is present.

The dominant operator will also not be able to use predatory pricing to eliminate competition, not be permitted to use its information on the consumer to preclude others from offering good innovative services at similar costs and not be permitted to charge a high price to call, send messages or transfer money to other services, while keeping its own prices low.

Currently, MTN covers 55.9% of Ghana’s voice Market share, Vodafone 21.93, Airtel Tigo 20.37% and Glo 1.75%. MTN however dominates the 4G space with over 92%.

Source: Zoure/2020


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