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Ghana expands spectrum for MTN, Vodafone

Ghana , 28 Apr 2020
Ghana expands spectrum for MTN, Vodafone.
Ghana expands spectrum for MTN, Vodafone.

To accommodate the surge in internet traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo has directed the Ministry of Communications to extend the spectrum of networks belonging to MTN and Vodafone, at no cost to the service providers.

Ghana’s Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the restriction of movements in the country has led to significant increase in internet traffic, necessitating the provision of additional capacity to the operators until the end of July 2020.

"Data usage has increased dramatically during this containment period and there is congestion on all networks. The quality of network services for the general public has therefore been affected. The traffic jams went from the streets to the internet and the president therefore ordered the National Communications Authority (NCA) to free up more frequencies for telecommunications operators during this period and it was done," said Owusu-Ekuful.

The Minister also urged consumers to help reduce network congestion.“If you don't need to make a video call, don't make a video call. Make your normal phone calls and the data will be retained. Limit the downloading of music, movies and other stuff like that.”

E-payment also affected

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the Central Bank of Ghana postponing the enforcement of a policy regarding minimum capital requirement to providers of electronic payment services until 31 December 2020.

The policy was originally scheduled to be officially in place by 30 June 2020 with the objective to enable the Central Bank of Ghana to leverage a legal and regulatory framework “for the orderly development of Ghana's payment system.”

According to the policy, mobile money service providers are required to have a minimum capital of 20 million Ghanaian cedis, rising from the previous requirement of 5 million cedis.

“The emergence of new payment flows of entities such as financial technology companies and the general acceptance of electronic money made it necessary to adopt this law,” the financial regulator stated.

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