Spectrum unavailability and review of guidelines delayed Globacom’s operations in Ghana says Minister Iddrisu
After Globacom was handed the license to operate as the fifth telecoms company in the Ghanaian market for a fee of $50 million, there was an unavailability of spectrum for the Nigerian company to start operations in Ghana, says Ghana’s Minister of Communications. Yes, you read that correctly: Glo was give a licence for which the spectrum to deliver it was not available.
In addition to this, the review of regime guidelines for the citing of telecoms cell sites by Ghanaian authorities for the purpose of assurance on structural integrity of masts also affected the early deployment of Glo.
Haruna Iddrisu attributed these reasons to why the telecoms company, owned by Mike Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest person according to Forbes Magazine could not start operations in Ghana as expected.
According to the Minister, at the time Glo was issued a license August 2008 to operate in Ghana for a fee in the region of $50 million, the spectrum available for use by Glo was unavailable. “Glo was licensed August 2008 and again at the time that Glo was issued a license for a fee in the region of $50 million. The spectrum for Glo was unavailable on the 1900 megahertz,” he revealed in an interview on TV Africa’s Bare Facts last Tuesday August 23, 2011 which was monitored by ghanabusinessnews.com.
According to Iddrisu, the Bureau of National Communications (BNC) and the National Security who were using the spectrum were moved unto another megahertz. “…Now what we have to do upon assuming office in 2009 is to facilitate a migration of the Bureau of National Communications (BNC) who were sitting on that spectrum and we have to move National Security and BNC into the 450 megahertz in order to free the spectrum for the use of Glo,” Iddrisu told the host of the show.
The Minister indicated that Sherry Ayittey, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology wanted some assurance on the structural integrity of the telecom masts to have some sanity in the environment hence the need to review the regime of guidelines of these citing which eventually affected the immediate deployment of Glo.
Happily by the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, Glo had at least up to a thousand cell sites approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Iddrisu said adding “I know another operator in the industry who does have less cell sites.” Their challenges have to do with the cell sites, he added.
He also disclosed on the show that the National Communications Authority (NCA) at one time wrote to Glo as to when they will start operations in Ghana but a definite answer was not given.
“The regulator wrote to them in March 2011 and they responded in April but were not definite in terms of when they will launch. I’m sure it’s just their marketing strategy. They want to penetrate the Ghanaian market well.” But Ghanaian authorities have given some policy directives that between September 15 and October 15, 2011, Glo must show physical presence or face appropriate sanctions.