The declaration of MTN Ghana as SMP is consistent with section 20 (13) of the Electronic Communications Act of 2008.
The declaration, according to the NCA, is aimed at ensuring a level playing field for all network operators within the industry. MTN Ghana currently controls about 70% of the mobile telephony industry in the country.
Below are the new obligations the NCA, the regulator, has instituted in line with the declaration of MTN Ghana as SMP.
30% asymmetrical interconnection rate
For the next two years, MTN Ghana will receive 30% less for traffic from other mobile operators to its network. That is, the charges the other mobile operators will have to pay MTN per minute for voice call or per text message from their subscribers to those on MTN would be 30% less than the rate MTN would be expected to pay for traffic to other networks.
This is expected to make up for the dominant traffic from other networks to the MTN Ghana network. Because of MTN Ghana’s huge market share, customers on other networks send a lot more traffic to MTN customers than the other way round.
MTN Ghana will also be restricted from pricing its voice, data, SMS and mobile money services less than its stated default rate as part of a promotion – unless NCA approves it.
This means MTN Ghana would be expected to submit every pricing plan or package to the NCA for approval before they can be implemented.
On-net off-net differentials
Furthermore, under the SMP declaration, MTN Ghana will be expected to charge the same for call and SMS between MTN to MTN communication and MTN to other networks.
Calls to the same networks are usually cheaper than to other networks but under the new law, MTN Ghana will be compelled to charge the same price.
MTN Ghana will also be expected to open up its networks in a way that allows other networks to tap into and connect in areas where the other networks may not have coverage/reception. MTN Ghana can, however, agree on a roaming fee with the networks.
So, if a Vodafone customer, for instance, goes to an area where there is no Vodafone coverage, but there is MTN coverage, MTN is required to allow that Vodafone customer to access its network and be able to communicate via both voice and data.
These new rules are, however, on hold.
MTN Ghana has headed to the Supreme Court seeking a judicial review and insisting that there was a breach of procedural fairness.
A similar argument MTN Ghana took to the High Court was dismissed recently.
Read Full Story