NCA forges on with ‘beauty contest’ for sixth mobile licence in Ghana
The Ghanaian telecoms regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA), is said to be ploughing ahead with plans to license a sixth mobile operator in the country, contrary to earlier rumours that the process had been suspended on the advice of the government, pending the privatisation of state-backed PTO Ghana Telecom. However, local online newspaper Myjoyonline quotes the Director General of the NCA, Bernard Aidoo Forson, as saying that the state has not advised any such thing and that the licensing process is still under way. Forson added that no fewer than eleven telecoms operators and companies including Afritel Communications, Awesomedia, BenchMac PR & Business Consult, Express Mobile Communications and Faith Telecom are considering bidding for the licence on offer.
Other possible bidders are believed to include Global Trade Imex, Glo Mobile Ghana, a subsidiary of Globacom of Nigeria, TechnoEdge Ghana, Teylium Telecom International, TransAtlantic Industries and Warid Telecom International. All of the eleven companies named have been short-listed to take part in a 'beauty contest’, the outcome of which will be announced by mid-June.
GSM operator MTN Ghana (formerly Spacefon Areeba), had an impressive 4.016 million subscribers, putting it ahead of Millicom International Cellular's (MIC's) Millicom Ghana (formerly Mobitel) unit, the oldest of all the providers, which had 2.023 million users of its Tigo-branded service. State-owned national PTO Ghana Telecom (GT) claimed an estimated 1.275 million subscribers to its GT-OneTouch GSM network, while Kasapa Telecom, the country's sole CDMA operator, had 289,066 users, up from 200,166 the previous year. The country's troubled second national operator (SNO) WESTEL received a licence to operate mobile services in November 2006, bringing the number of companies licensed to provide mobile telephony services to five.