Telecoms analyst, Patrick Boateng says government’s decision to create a level playing ground for telecom operators, advertently breaking MTN’s dominance is a step in the right direction.
According to him, such a move will provide industry players with a fair chance in prospering.
His statement follows the regulator, National Communication Authority’s saying that it will be putting in place certain measures with the telecoms industry to provide a level-playing field for all network operators and break the dominance of MTN Ghana in the sector.
According to the Authority, the growing control of MTN “has impacted negatively on competition and consumer choice, necessitating corrective action” though it acknowledges the investments MTN has made in their operations over the years.
A statement issued by the Ministry explained that, “the policy directive is motivated by evidence of a growing market imbalance and creation of a near-monopoly in the telecom sector.”
It fears this imbalance will “potentially expose the country to the dictates of the dominant operator and negatively impact on competition and choice for the consumer as well as investments within the sector.”
Instead, it wants to guarantee “proper and healthy competition” in the sector in addition to securing better pricing policy for consumers.
The NCA’s announcement was greeted with backlash as some critics of the plan described government’s decision as unreasonable towards the industry leader, MTN.
According to them, the move appears to punish MTN Ghana for being successful and innovative.
However, Patrick Boateng thinks otherwise.
In an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, he said the move was to prevent the monopolizing of the telecoms space, considering MTN already has a 75% market share.
This he said could be detrimental to the interests of other service providers and consumers.
“The intention here is not to punish the SMP but to create a market space where everyone, the industry players who are big investors, government, consumers and other players have a fair chance in prospering.
“Also, considering that when you are in monopoly the monopoly might behave in his own interest which may not necessarily be in the interest of consumers or anybody else,” he said.
Mr Boateng added that government’s decision would thus foster a healthy competition in the sector and would be most beneficial to consumers.
“In a number of ways, consumers need fair and reasonable pricing. They need the choice of freedom to switch networks. They need all kinds of innovative products that they can access and by doing so the regulator then opens up space and basically forestalls any negative anti-competitive behaviour.
“To leave the SMP without acting, then consumers would have the lack of choice, lack of innovative products, unfair pricing, unreasonable pricing in the absence of competitors who can also introduce new products.”
Meanwhile, MTN Ghana in response to government’s announcement says it respects the NCA’s decision to regulate the telecoms sector in line with legislation and best practices, however, it is yet to receive a formal notice from the regulator.