The Ghana National Communications Authority (NCA) recently auctioned licence for 2x5NHz frequency spectrum block in the 800 MHz band. This is simply 4G. And Vodafone emerged the successful winner of the provisional service.
The NCA invited applications from qualified bodies to establish, maintain and operate the 4G mobile service in the country. NCA said two only companies submitted applications for the bid priced at USD 33.75 million. The other company, Quantum Oil had USD 2 million pending negotiation, while Vodafone had USD 24 million to offer.
Vodafone has actually been awarded with one of the three lots of the 2×5 MHz in the 800 MHz Band at a price of US$30 million. From the NCA statement: “Vodafone Ghana, thus, has been provisionally awarded one lot of 2×5 MHz in the 800 MHz Band at a price of $30,000,000.”
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Vodafone Ghana is not the first to have 4G in the country. The company joins MTN Ghana making them the only two mobile telecommunications companies having 4G services. There are other ISPs also offering 4G services – Busy Ghana, Surfline, Goldkey Telecoms, Telesol, Blu, Parrallel Wireless and Zipnet.
MTN Ghana, previously acquiring the 4G licence complained that the cost for the licence was too much. The telecom company had to pay about $68 million for the same licence Vodafone is getting. And Vodafone is supposed to pay off $30 million which is less than half the price MTN paid.
Conditions of the licence
One bold condition guiding the Vodafone licence is that the licence is technology neutral. This means Vodafone can use it to introduce any new technology without needing a new licence.
Vodafone Ghana has to establish a 25 per cent minimum Ghanaian ownership within 24 months (2 years). But Vodafone already seems to have fulfilled that obligation, since the Government has 30 per cent shares in the company.
Also, within 36 months (3 years), all of the 6 metropolitan capitals and a minimum of 20 municipal and district capitals should have coverage of the 4G service.
By the fourth years (48 months), coverage should extend to a minimum of additional 50 municipal and district capitals. And by the end of 60 months (5 years), another minimum of additional 50 district capitals should get the 4G coverage.