Ghana’s telecoms watchdog, the National Communications Authority (NCA), has opened a public consultation into the potential award of three new licences for mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services, international wholesale carrier (IWC) services and unified services. The regulator is seeking stakeholders’ views on the eligibility criteria, scope and conditions of the licences and award processes, as outlined in the published papers. All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by early December.
According to the draft documents, the NCA has proposed that the MVNO licence is awarded for a maximum term of five years, subject to the expiration of the authorisation of the cellular mobile licensee involved. Eligible applicants, which must be 70% Ghanaian-owned, will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of GHS150,000 (USD46,985), a licence fee of GHS1.2 million and all levies applicable to mobile network operators (MNOs), including annual regulatory fee, universal access contributions, communications service tax (CST) and value added tax (VAT).
For its part, the unified service licence is targeted at existing MNOs wishing to provide fixed telephony, broadband and other value added services (VAS) to customers. Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) licence holders may also be eligible for the concession and can apply for the licence upon meeting the rollout conditions outlined in their concessions. The successful bidder for a unified service licence must pay a GHS150,000 application fee, a licence levy of GHS600,000 for each year of the remaining term of its cellular mobile licence, a regulatory fee equivalent to 1% of its net revenues, and several additional fees (e.g. CST, VAT).
Meanwhile, the IWC licence will allow its holder to carry and route incoming and outgoing international telecoms traffic to and from any of the country’s licensed international gateway facilities. The authorised operator will provide a point of presence (PoP) and connect directly to licensed international gateway operators based on reasonable commercial agreements. The authorisation will be granted for a maximum term of five years for a GHS1 million licence fee, in addition to a non-refundable application charge of GHS150,000 and an annual regulatory payment of 1% of net revenues.
The NCA has disclosed that, following the review of the results of the three public consultations, a process which is scheduled to take place on 9 December 2014, invitations for the licence auctions will be published on 16 December.