The Acting Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr Joe Anokye, has underscored the importance of communication to development and pledged NCA's determination to support government initiatives to bring development to the rural areas.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, Mr Anokye disclosed that NCA had permitted Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) with existing 2G Licences to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS)-- a 3G technology-- in unserved and underserved communities across Ghana.
The deployment of UMTS, he said, was in the interest of consumers as it would lead to enhanced and consistent 3G user experience, reduce 3G coverage black spots, introduce choice and competition for the consumer, increase data penetration and improve spectral efficiency, and handover problems.
He explained that UMTS would lead to increased data access to areas which, hitherto, had not been covered by MNOs with 3G services and make it easier for telecommunications companies to expand their data coverage with minimum costs because the technology opened up the space to reach out to people in areas where they would not because of the costs in deploying base stations there.
The Ag. Director-General gave the assurance that NCA would monitor the UTMS deployment to ensure that the consumer received all the benefits associated with the use of the technology, with a view to promoting digital inclusion in Ghana.
He disclosed that MNOs would receive an Authorization rather than a Licence to operate UTMS and that Authorization to provide 3G services in the 900MHz band would be granted for specific areas upon application by a telecommunication company, adding that NCA would give priority to unserved and underserved areas, in considering the applications.
Furthermore, Mr Anokye said, the NCA had waived Application and Authorisation Fees or Charges for the service to interested telecommunication companies and that authorization would be for the unexpired term of the applicant's 2G Licence."
UMTS-- originally authorised in the 2100MHz frequency band-- is a third generation (3G) technology which is deployed using the 900MHz frequency band, and which was originally assigned for the deployment of 2G services (GSM) in Ghana.
NCA is the statutory body mandated to license and to regulate electronic communication activities and services in the country.
The Authority was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 524 in December 1996, which has been repealed and replaced by the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769).
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)