The Ghanaian government has issued a warning to would-be start-up Globacom, a Nigeria-based telco with operations in Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire, to launch commercial services in the country by 15 September, or face sanctions. Unconfirmed reports from online news journal Peacefmonline say the ultimatum was delivered by the Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, in his opening address to the 20th anniversary seminar of the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) in Accra last week. The minister reportedly delivered a paper titled ‘The telecom industry in perspective: History, overview and contemporary challenges of the media in Ghana’, in which he noted the government’s ire that Globacom, which was licensed about four years ago and planned to launch under the Glo Mobile banner, has yet to offer any full-blown service. Iddrisu is quoted as saying of the newcomer’s heel-dragging ‘it is about time we take the company on because they have the Ghanaian market space waiting for too long.’
The Nigerian-owned operation has however, long argued that it has faced obstacles to its entry into the market. In May 2010 Globacom threatened to exit Ghana altogether in the face of what it termed ‘interests’ seemingly hell-bent on sabotaging its nationwide launch plans. At the time an unnamed source claimed that since Glo Mobile was awarded its GSM frequencies by the National Communications Authority (NCA), it has faced obstacles in terms of seeking approval for the swift deployment of its base stations, an encroachment on the frequencies it was awarded by the NCA and the repeated vandalism of its advertising billboards. In August the government moved to reassure Globacom that it was ‘free to do business in Ghana’, but the statement appears to have done little to resolve the stalemate.