Government Threatens Glo Operations in Benin
Globacom's Benin network launched in June may be truncated by the failure of the Beninoise government to release the frequency it allocated to the Nigerian telecoms company over one and a half years ago. Globacom has yet to get a significant part of the 25 channels the Beninoise government allocated to it after it won the licence to operate in the country last year.
A source close to the Beninoise Ministry of Communication confirmed that Globacom has made several appeals to the Beninoise government on the need to urgently release the frequencies to it as approved but to no avail.
Only a few of the channels allocated to the network have so far been released, making it impossible for Globacom to embark on its expansion programme, thereby frustrating its quest to enhance its quality of service delivery.
The Government-owned mobile subsidiary Libercom is currently sitting on the spectrum allocated to Globacom and appears reluctant to give it up. The Government has a clear conflict of interest in that it both controls the allocation of the spectrum and owns the company. Its failure to ensure the spectrum is released is clearly damaging Globacom’s business. Spectrum released so far is all in the 1800 band and there has been no release of the valuable 900 khz spectrum.
A source in Benin's telecoms regulatory body, Autorité Transitoire de Regulation de Postes et Télécommunications (ATRPT) who pleaded anonymity said:"In fairness to Globacom, they need the 900 band to enhance their in-door coverage. What the bulk of the 1800 band they have now can do for them is to give them good coverage on the road." The source said that the Beninoise government would only keep its credibility intact on the issue if it summoned the needed courage to compel Libercom to vacate the spectrum government had earlier allocated to Glo.