NCA okays Telcos to deploy 3G Coverage to Rural Areas

The National Communication Authority [NCA] has given the green light to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) with existing 2G licenses to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems [UMTS], which is a 3G technology, in unserved and underserved communities across the country.

The decision, according to the NCA is expected to result in increase data access to areas which hitherto were not covered by MNOs with 3G services.

UMTS, is a third generation [3G] technology deployed using the 900MHz frequency band which was originally assigned for the deployment of 2G services [GSM] in Ghana. The UMTS technology was originally authorized in the 2100MHz frequency band.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra to announce the decision, Mr. Joe Anokye, the acting Director General of NCA, said the UMTS technology makes it easier for Telcos to expand their data coverage with minimum costs especially as the can be deployed over a large area at less costs. The UMTS technology, he adds also opens up space for telcos to reach out for folks in areas where hitherto they will not because of the costs in deploying base stations there.

The acting Director General of NCA stated the benefits of allowing telcos to deploy UTMS is particularly beneficial to consumers saying “with this, we will be promoting digital inclusion in Ghana and in the process customers in unserved and underserved areas will see the immense benefits especially as they see improvement with their access to data and data services.”

Additionally, he said, this would lead to a maximization of spectrum use noting that it would also lead to enhanced, consistent 3G user experience and reduce 3G coverage black spots.

Mr. Anokye indicated that the technology would also introduce choice and competition for the consumer while increasing data penetration, improved spectral efficiency and improve handover problems.

“So you can tell that at the heart of this decision in the consumer and we will monitor the UTMS deployment to ensure that these benefits that are penned down for the ultimate benefit of the consumer will come to fruition,” Mr. Joe Anokye stressed whiles adding that “communication is essential for development so ultimately this will go a long way to support government initiatives to bring development to the rural areas”.

The authorization to provide 3G services in the 900MHz band, will be granted for specific areas upon application by a telco, has gathered.

Sources close to NCA told this news portal that the telecommunication regulatory body will however give regard to unserved and underserved areas in considering the applications. MNOs according to the source would receive an authorization and not licence.

This reporter has also gathered that NCA has waived application and authorization fee or charges for this service to interested telcos whiles authorization would be for the unexpired term of the applicant’s 2G licence.

Source: Adovor Nutifafa                                                                                                                  

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