Ghanaian telecoms regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) has asked existing cellcos in the country to deploy UMTS 3G technology in a bid to improve network accessibility in rural areas. The proposed deployment will be carried out using the 900MHz frequency band, originally assigned for 2G services. Acting Director-General of the NCA, Joe Anokye said the deployment of 3G technology using 900MHz spectrum would expand companies’ data coverage to mobile users 15km from base stations, with minimal costs attached: ‘The benefits of allowing telcos to deploy UMTS are particularly beneficial to consumers. With this we will be promoting digital inclusion in Ghana and in the process customers in unserved and underserved areas will see the immense benefits, especially as they see improvement with their access to data and data services.’
Mr Anokye stated that mobile network operators (MNOs) will not be required to apply for new licences, but only to submit an application for authorisation by the NCA, whilst the regulator has waived application and authorisation fees in the 3G licence-awarding process.