Vodafone Ghana, the country’s second largest mobile service provider in terms of subscribers, and third-placed cellco Millicom Ghana (Tigo) have asked the National Communications Authority (NCA) to reconsider its recent plans to force operators to charge a fixed tariff of GHS0.04 (USD0.01) for all on-net calls. GhanaWeb cites Vodafone’s head of external affairs Gayheart Mensah as saying that the move ‘has the potential to kill innovation among telecom providers, [and] consumers will no longer enjoy free on-net calls on any network,’ while Tigo’s chief operating officer Obafemi Banigbe commented: ‘The industry will be better served if innovations are allowed to drive the market rather than the heavy hand of the regulator.’ Currently, cellcos are able to offer promotional on-net charges, such as free calls at night, while businesses that rely on Closed User Group (CUG) services – which allow employees to make and receive low-cost calls – are likely to see call charges rise by up to 75% if the NCA decision goes ahead. Vodafone and Tigo have indicated that they are prepared to go to court if the dispute cannot be resolved with the NCA.
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