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Ghana's telecom regulator takes on IMANI over Afriwave

By , ITWeb
Ghana , 17 Feb 2016

Ghana's telecom regulator takes on IMANI over Afriwave

Ghana's telecommunications regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) has responded to policy think tank IMANI Ghana over several claims it made against the Authority regarding the awarding of an Interconnect Clearing House license to Afriwave Ghana.

IMANI Ghana had accused the NCA of manipulating the evaluation process, governed by the Application Evaluation Panel (AEP), to make Afriwave the country's only authorised interconnect clearing house company – over Channel IT, Global Voice Group, Prodigy Ghana Limited and Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited.

The license empowers Afriwave to monitor all internal and external call traffic, SMS and data communication before this is terminated on intended networks, as well as ensure correct revenue declaration, for the next ten years.

Afriwave will also link all internet exchanges, alert the Bank of Ghana on foreign exchange as related to incoming international traffic, improve efforts to tackle SIM-Box fraud and provide independently verified industry data for policy making by the government.

In a detailed response, signed by acting Director General William Tevie and posted on the NCA's official website, the regulator denies the assertions made by the think tank.

Draft report

The NCA has argued that IMANI Ghana's allegations were based on the content of a draft report. During a press briefing last week the regulator admitted that there were some errors in the report when it was issued to applicant companies during the evaluation process and "transferred from Microsoft excel to Microsoft word". These have since been corrected, the regulator has stated.

The NCA also responded to a claim that the evaluation panel had a limited 21-day time-frame to carry out its work saying the process had started with extensive public consultations with all stakeholders in November 2014.

According to the regulator the report was approved after its review between 29 and 30 January 2016 after its presentation to the NCA Board on 29 January.

Further claims that the NCA failed to visit any of applicants to ascertain existing capacity and that there were no client references or testimonials of previous work done in the clearing and general telecom intermediation space, were also refuted.

The regulator has stated that the Interconnect Clearing House services is a novelty in Ghana and none of the applicants had any prior record of having rendered the full range of fourteen different services required under the licenses either in Ghana.

It says the ability of the participants to perform the functions required was based on the strength of their financial and technical capabilities demonstrated in their applications.

IMANI has also accused the panel of manipulating its own scoring system to award Afriwave marks above the maximum score awardable in a particular section, and that no pre-qualification was done. The organisation also contends that the NCA never reviewed the AEP's report since there was no prior guidance from the NCA's technical staff to assist it in its work.

In response the NCA said that the AEP authenticated the results contained in the published report as representing the true outcome of their work.The Authority has referred to the published report where the panel observed that the administrative pre-qualification of applicants required in stage one of the process was not done by commencement of work and urged that the two stages be combined into one process for the purpose of the evaluation.

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