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Revisit the spectrum policy issues-Vodafone Ghana appeals to gov’t



Vodafone Ghana has asked government to revisit the spectrum service policy issue to enable it provide the needed telecommunication service to Ghanaians.

The spectrum enables 4G which is the fastest internet connectivity in the telecom sector but, only MTN-Ghana was able to acquire it last year when the then NDC government started the process.

The Malaysia communication giant, Vodafone, acquired Ghana Telecom at the cost of $900 million from the New Patriotic Party (NPP)government under the leadership of former president John Agyekum Kufour regime. Since then, the company which used to be a leading telecom service provider in Ghana has had to compete with other players in the industry.

Giving an overview of Voda operation at the Vodafone Round Table meeting with the media in Tamale, the company’s cooperate relations manager, Mr. Ebenezer Amankwa said the company will be glad if government can revisit the spectrum policy issue because it is a worry to the company which he said has a good performance record spanning several years in the sector.

The NCA conducted a spectrum auction last year in the 800MHz band space. Due to the high reserve price only MTN Ghana participated and was awarded one of the two blocks of 2x10MHz at a reserve price of US$67.5m to provide 4G services.

But Mr. Amankwa says there is lack of clarity on how the remaining block will be assigned, adding that they believe spectrum must be made available for 4G services at an affordable price for it to also get the remaining block.

“We have a proven record of accomplishment to deliver 4G services across the country and this is not in dispute,” Mr Amankwa stated.
“We appreciate the fact that government may wish to maximize revenue from the spectrum, but careful consideration should be given to other benefits that Ghanaians stand to gain from increased access to high-speed internet if Vodafone is given the opportunity to roll out LTE.”

The company also pleaded with the government to reduce the tax burden on the telecom industry. Vodafone has so far invested about US$1.7 billion in its operations in Ghana. The director of external affairs Mr. Gayheart Mensah assured subscribers that the company was not in the business of tapping their phones.

“As we speak in Ghana today, I am very much convinced nobody has the ability and capability not even the national security apparatus to tap any Vodafone subscriber call because there is no law backing it,”Mr Gayheart said.

He said he understood the public’s anger at the government’s intention to come out with a law called Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications otherwise known as the Spy Bill. The bill when passed into law would have compelled telecommunication networks in Ghana to allow the national security agencies to tap into the various network to be able to listen to real conversations but it didn’t materialized because of public anger.

This, Mr Gayheart said was a litmus test that supports Vodafone stance on the issue,  adding the company treats its customers’ privacy with the utmost espect.

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