The Government of Ghana has put in place measures to check the dominance of MTN Ghana in the telecommunications sector which it says is having some regressive outcomes.
The government feels the growing dominance of MTN “has impacted negatively on competition and consumer choice, necessitating corrective action.”
It has thus directed the National Communication Authority (NCA) to enforce the provisions of the Electronic Communications (EC) Act 2008 and the National Telecommunications Policy “to address glaring disparities in market share and revenue share in the sector.”
It explained in a statement that this 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 “potentially exposes the country to the dictates of the dominant operator and negatively impacts on competition and choice for the consumer as well as investments within the sector.”
The government instead wants to ensure “proper and healthy competition” in the sector in addition to securing better pricing policy for the consumers.
The government indicated that industry statistics released from the Statistical Bulletin – Quarter 4, 2019 of the NCA show MTN as having almost 75 percent of telecommunications market share.
It believes this “clearly shows an uncompetitive and unprofitable environment” for less dominant telcos.
Per the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP), any operator with a market share over 40 percent is considered a Significant Market Power (SMP).
This puts MTN in that category.
“With this designation of SMP, the Regulator is required to take corrective measures under the law to facilitate more market competition, ensure proper pricing for consumers and facilitate the overall growth of the telecommunications industry,” the statement explained.
In response, the government is immediately putting in place an Asymmetrical Interconnect rate in favour of the disadvantaged operators.
It will also put a floor or ceiling pricing on all minutes, data, SMS, Mobile Money, etc.
Additionally, it will require the SMP to not have differential prices for on-net and off-net transactions and ensure various operator vendors are not subject to exclusionary pricing or behaviour.