Kelni GVG Limited has for the first time spoken on its controversial $89 million government contract, saying the monitors that will be connecting to the networks of the telecom operators are passive and non-intrusive.
This was contained in a 19-point response to questions about the common monitoring platform (CMP) and some of the thorny issues that have been a source of contention over the past few weeks.
The main issue raised by telecom service providers, in particular, is the issue of data security and interference with customer privacy.
The telcos allege that the architectural design of the Kelni GVG equipment indicates to them that the monitors can spy on their customers.
Indeed, the Communications Service Tax law states categorically that the monitoring equipment should not be capable of accessing content of any communication.
Government officials who have been responding to the issues have insisted that the CMP cannot spy on the telcos' customers, adding that telcos are even allowed to connect their own probes to the monitors as additional security for customers.
Kelni GVG response
In their own response to that issues, Kelni GVG said: "non-intrusive, passive and secure data collection equipment will be installed at each operator's site."
The company further stated that the CMP "does not have the capability to listen to calls or read the SMS contents of mobile users," adding "there is no personal data on the CMP. The CMP does not have the capability to match numbers with names/real persons."
Kelni GVG also said that the CMP is purely signalling based, explaining that it only collects controlled information exchanged between telecoms nodes before, during and after any communication on the network.
"A signal only contains the statistics of the communication...carried on a channel that is independent of the communication channel carrying the voice content," they noted.
It also stated that the operations of the CMP will conform to Ghana's Data Protection Act 2012, Act 843.
The company also gave explanations on how the CMP will meet the four deliverables: real-time traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, fraud management and mobile money monitoring.
Kelni GVG said the CMP is designed to provide a real-time accurate measurement of the volume of international incoming traffic, the volume of international outgoing traffic and domestic on-net and off-net voice traffic.
Traffic monitoring, according to them, enables the comprehensive and accurate billing of the government 32 per cent share of the 19 cent per minute of international incoming traffic.
It said the CMP will monitor the amount of revenue generated by both mobile and fixed network operators.
Revenue stream to be monitored includes those from prepaid and postpaid services (SMS, data, voice), value-added services (VAS), wholesale services and other telecom services.
Kelni GVG said the CMP is able to capture mobile money transaction data to establish the total value of authorized e-money in the market and consequently the fees that accrue to each operator on a monthly basis.
"It also provides detailed and comprehensive statistics on mobile money transactions including but not limited to cash in, cash out, fees associated with transactions, peer-to-peer transfers as well as total volume and value of transactions by operators," Kelni GVG said.
The CMP, according to Kelni GVG will manage fraud by tracking inbound international traffic via test calls generated abroad into Ghana to, and the termination behaviour will be used to determine which traffic bypassed the approve international gateways into the country.
It said the local number used in terminating bypass traffic would the be reported to the respective telcos to block them, while the CMP tracks the location of the simboxes used in terminating the bypass traffic.
All of these specific information from all four services will be generated on daily, monthly, quarterly annual basis to help the respective stakeholders in their decision making and necessary actions.
Kelni GVG said software updates and period fixes will be done to the CMP regularly and upon request by key stakeholders, but a complete equipment refresh will happen at the end of the five-year contract period.
The company steered clear of any issues raised about the $89 million contract sum and whether such a service is even necessary for the country.
It also refused to touch on the legal suit against the project as it was not cited in the suit.
Meanwhile, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has written to all the telcos reminding them of their legal obligations under the CST law and the risk they run if they violate the June 11 dead to allow KelniGVG to connect the probes.
But civil society group, OccupyGhana is threatening legal action if the project goes ahead as planned.
Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | GN