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21.06.2006 Business & Finance

Govt Must Leave Telecom Scene

By Daily Graphic
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The Managing Director of Kasapa Telecom Limited, operators of Kasapa, Mr Robert N. Palitz, has expressed deep reservation on the government's involvement in the telecommunication industry.

He said it was out of place for the government to have purchased Westel, whiles at the same time was the sole shareholder of Ghana Telecom.

Mr Palitz said he did not know of any country, apart from Ghana, that the government owned two telecom companies.

“Government's participation in the telecom industry ought to come to an end.

If a company cannot survive as a private enterprise, then it should not be a burden on the government,” he stressed.

In an interview, Mr Palitz said the National Communications Authority (NCA) had been doing its best, and that they had come a long way to understand how the telecommunication industry operated.

He, however, asked the NCA to resist any push from any authority to issue licences to more fixed network operators, indicating that his company was aware of the government's plan to licence 10 more fixed network operators.

According to him, the government had planned to divide the country into five zones, and wanted two more fixed networks in each zone.

He said “Those companies will be very small that they will be doomed from the start” saying that “government will only collect licence fees from companies which will ultimately fail”.

He explained that the companies if licensed to operate would not be able to charge less than what the existing operators were charging, as they would have high expenses per customer and per minute.

According to him the solution to Ghana's telecommunication problems did not lie in allowing more operators into the market, but in providing the needed assistance to telecom operators already in the system.

He said the NCA could do the industry a lot of good by checking advertising claims made by operators in order to ascertain their credibility and protect the industry from false claims.

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