Ghana will soon roll out the unified license regime, a global standard of licensing for telecom operators with the aim to bring down the cost of internet for operators and consumers.
This is in line with the quest by the government to make data affordable and accessible to consumers in the country.
The new licensing regime will also allow telecom operators to acquire one set of licenses for both voice and data operations.
Answering questions from the Appointment Committee of Parliament, Minister-designate for Communication and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu Ekuful hinted that the option has become critical due to the increasing usage of data in the country.
According to Ursula Owusu Ekuful, the current license regime doesn’t have the technology to grant a single license for a spectrum operation, therefore operators acquire a separate license for each spectrum that is either 2G, 3G or 4G.
This situation, she believes, contributes to the high cost of internet in the country.
“Moving forward, we will implement the unified licensing regime so that it doesn’t matter whether 2G, 3G or 4G spectrum license that you have to deliver the services that you want for your customers,” she told the Appointment Committee.
The concept of unified telecommunications licensing which is prevalent in a number of countries, including Singapore, Australia, certain European Union countries and recently India, allows competing telecommunications operators and service providers to offer various telecommunications services without having to apply for separate licenses.
So, for instance, if operators have space on previous spectrum licensed for 2G, 3G or 4G, and they can re-farm the unused spectrum and use it to deploy higher technology, the unified licensing regime, that enables tech-neutrality allows that.
In a country like Ghana, where telcos have complained of the high cost of 4G compatible licenses, a unified licensing regime will help the smaller telcos to re-farm their existing spectrum to deploy 4G instead of having to pay the regulator huge sums of money to acquire another license.