By: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express
The four companies who submitted their applications to the National Communications Authority (NCA) to acquire 4G LTE licenses are said to be ready for the announcement of the winners by the regulating authority.
The National Communications Authority did announce the availability of some space in the 800MHz for two companies to be awarded licenses in order to operate 4G LTE in the country.
The 4G LTE network is an improved technology of 2G and 3G technologies. Basically, people who have smart phones which are compatible to the 3G technology are able to use their phones to browse the internet, send text, send pictures and among other things.
Similarly, users of smart phones which are compatible to the 4G LTE will be able to experience much better services than what 2G and 3G provides.
The companies who were able to meet the 9 November, 2015 deadline are Scancom Ghana Limited, the operators of MTN; Surfline Communications Limited; Goldkey Telecom Limited and the Migson Communications Limited.
Out of these four companies, the regulator will select the best two winners and subsequently award them two blocks of 2x10MHz spectrum (4G LTE licenses) in the 800MHz Band on the 9 December, 2015.
Per the plans of NCA, the auction of the spectrum will take place between 2 December, 2015 and 8 December, 2015 and on the 9 December, 2015 the winners will be announced.
According to the NCA, each of the two winners will pay about US$67.5 million for the 4G LTE license for a period of 15 years.
The authority said it shall proceed to assess the eligibility of the four companies for the award of the 4G LTE licence before inviting them to participate in the Auction.
The National Communications Authority will take into consideration whether the company applying for the license is a registered company under the laws of Ghana, and duly certified to operate in Ghana.
However, NCA said companies which are owe by foreigners must have a minimum of 35% indigenous Ghanaian ownership in the company. “It may be a company, a joint venture or consortium,” according to NCA.
“Applicants who do not meet this criteria at the time of applying should submit a letter of commitment, signed by the Authorised Representative, to have the minimum 35% Ghanaian ownership in place within 13 months from the effective date of the license, failing which the license duration shall be reduced by 2 years in the first instance of the deadline and by an additional 1 year for each year in which the Ghanaian ownership threshold is violated,” NCA added.
With the ownership structure, the Ghanaian company shall be maintained throughout the 15 year duration of the License.
The entities with foreign ownership shall register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) before commencement of service in accordance with Section 24 of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, 2013 (Act 865).
“Listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange in accordance with the Ghana Stock Exchange Listing Regulations 1990 (LI 1509) shall be accepted as a mechanism to meet the minimum Ghanaian shareholding requirement, where necessary,” NCA noted.
Meanwhile, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has selected Messrs’ KPMG as the Auctioneer for the auction process of the 800MHz Band.
The Daily Express gathered that KPMG will now be responsible for managing the process leading up to the auction and the actual auction. This will involve setting out the rules of the auction and ensuring an independent and transparent process.