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24.01.2006 Business & Finance

Ministry resolves Areeba-GT impasse

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Accra, Jan. 24, GNA - The Ministry of Communication says it has together with stakeholders resolved the impasse between Scancom Ghana Limited and Ghana Telecom, operators of Areeba and One Touch networks, respectively.

The two giant operators of cellular phone services in Ghana had been at each other's throat in the past two years over issues of cash balances and interconnectivity.

Responding to questions by journalists at the weekly Meet the Press Series in Accra, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communication, said any difficulties encountered by subscribers now could be attributed to technical problems, as the inter-connectivity and debt issues between the two operators, had been resolved.

Mr Kan-Dapaah said problems should be expected in every liberalised industry but the important thing was the ability to resolve them for a healthy competition.

"...under a liberalized telecom environment one expects that the competition engendered will provide industry self-regulation to make the role of the National Regulator less visible."

He said the National Communications Authority (NCA) was being empowered by legal means to undertake assessments and apply sanctions where necessary.

Before 2004, the NCA functioned under an authorization, which did not include monitoring and enforcement of regulations of quality. However, the Authority has since been empowered to consider performance in relation to the number of dropped calls and efficiency in relation to capacities of the mobile telephone service operators and apply sanctions where applicable.

Major John Tandoh, Acting Director General of the NCA, explaining the issue of connectivity said all the mobile phone service operators experienced network congestion and that there were some with high capacity networks and low subscription and vice versa. He said anytime a network exceeded its capacity, calls could not get through and were, therefore, dropped.

The NCA has now been given the mandate to evaluate the performance of the service providers to cover the period of January 2005 after which it would publish the results and sanctions applicable.