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10.02.2009 Politics

We’ll expedite implementation of mobile number portability – Iddrisu

By gna
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Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister-Nominee for Communications, on Tuesday said when given the nod to be minister he would expedite action on the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) to empower consumers to make better choice of mobile phone services.

He made the promise when he was being vetted by the Parliamentary Appointments Committee for the position of Minister of Communications.

“It is time for the regulation regime to make it possible for mobile phone users to be able to migrate from one network to the other with the whole of the phone numbers, including the network code and I think that it is about time the National Communications Authority (NCA) brought MNP on,” he said.

Mr Iddrisu made the statement in response to a question Mr Atta

Akyea, NPP Abuakwa South, posed regarding the poor network quality of some of the mobile phone service providers and the need to empower the consumer to migrate to other networks and yet keep their numbers.

Mr Akyea expressed worry over the fact that the NCA, which was the regulator, seemed unconcerned about the interest of the consumer and was rather in the business of granting licences to the network operators to expand their subscriber base on their problematic networks.

Dr Matthew Prempeh, NPP Manhyia, also mentioned the need to bring MNP on board to enable the consumer to punish poor network quality by migrating.

He noted that even with the presence of six multi-nationals in the country, tele-density was still poor to the extent that there were several dark spots across the country where it was difficult to make or receive calls.

Dr Prempeh also suggested the need for the regulation regime to make it possible for people's finger prints to be read when they dialled numbers on their handsets, in order to prevent the situation where people used phone chips to threaten others and threw them away without being traced.

Mr Iddrisu said; “Ghana's mobile network is generally poor and needs to be beefed up to 3G, which is about the standard internationally”.

But the questioners reminded him that MTN and Zain recently launched 3.5G services even though the Ghanaian technology was supposed to be poor nationwide.

Mr Iddrisu said with as many as six multi-national operators in Ghana, there was the needed for a more efficient and effective regulator.

“We need a stronger regulator” he said.
He said with regards to tele-density the country had 52 per cent tele-density but it was more focused in Accra and Kumasi, adding that, the problem was that of interconnectivity between the network operators.

“Under my stewardship we will maintain an open access facility for all to enable interconnectivity to be properly streamlined,” he said.

Mr Iddrisu said the network operators had very cordial relations and he would capitalise on that to ensure that they worked together to provide quality service to consumers.