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Ghana won't ban internet based calls despite Telcos proposal

Ghana won't ban internet based calls despite Telcos proposal

Ghana

Ghana government says it has no plans of banning internet based calls even though the National Communications Authority (NCA) says it is yet to decide on proposals from telecom operators in respect to regulating internet calls (i.e. Over-The-Top (OTT) services) such as whatsapp, skype, viber etc.

Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah was speaking at the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Accra on Tuesday, May 17, when he assured Ghanaians the government is not contemplating any ban on internet calls.

Major telecom player, MTN led a campaign for possible restrictions to be placed on internet call services ‘‘essentially due to the fact that the trend is leading to huge losses in revenues accrued from international calls to the Telcos,’‘ myjoyonline.com reports.

... essentially due to the fact that the trend is leading to huge losses in revenues accrued from international calls to the Telcos.

The NCA in a statement after receiving MTN’s proposal few weeks ago said “the NCA is reviewing the situation and will in due course take decisions for an enabling regulatory environment that will benefit all stakeholders including both the operator and consumer.”

Meanwhile CEO of MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Asante, speaking on Joy FM’s morning show on Wednsday morning said regulating internet calls has become critical to address the shortfalls in the revenues of telcos.

Ghana currently has five telecom operators, MTN, Tigo, Airtel, Expresso and Glo. All these networks have various internet based packages that are meant to attract subscribers onto their network.

Ghana has an advanced mobile penetration and official records indicate that by the close of 2015, Ghana had 35,283,957 telephone subscribers which represent a teledensity of 129.63%, whiles Mobile Data subscribers as of December 2015 stood at 18,031,188 which is 65.74%.

OTT Services include applications and services which are accessible over the internet and in some cases ride on operators’ networks numbering resources and internet access services. Examples of these are Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Twitter, Chat On, Snapchat, Instagram, Google Talk, Hike, Line, WeChat and Tango.

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