VENTURES AFRICA – After long-term pressure on Ghanaian telecommunication companies to improve on their services, Ghana’s Telecommunications regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA), has banned MTN Ghana from selling SIM Cards and/or adding any new SIM cards/subscribers to the MTN network until further notice because of the deteriorating quality of its network.
The telecom giant has faced similar issues in Nigeria as it was fined earlier this year for poor network quality.
A statement released by the regulator reads: “following the recent spate of service disruptions on the MTN network, the NCA had engaged the company on several occasions on the issues of quality of service degradation being experienced by consumers of its services.”
“These include network reliability, network availability, call drop, call set-up and denial of service. In spite of these engagements, network performance on MTN continues to deteriorate,” the NCA statement continued.
The regulator believes that by holding companies accountable, it will boost infrastructure in order to reach a larger penetration of mobile users in the West African country.
According to the Acting Head of Consumer and Corporate Affairs at the Ghana National Communications Authority (NCA) Mawuko Zormelo; the order had been issued to MTN Ghana, on Friday following “deliberations” with the operator.
Zormelo stated that MTN Ghana, formerly Scancom, had been operating well but was starting to experience challenges.
“The challenges were noted. We have been in deliberations with them.” “The directive is an outcome of those deliberations.”
However, MTN Group Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Officer, Paul Norman, said “This ban will not impact existing subscribers of MTN Ghana, and we currently do not expect this to have a material impact on the performance of the business for 2012.”
“MTN is actively engaging the regulator to address their concerns and hope to have a speedy and amicable resolution of the matter.”
Ghana is one of MTN’s largest markets, after Nigeria, Iran and South Africa. In Ghana, MTN has about 11 million subscribers and controls about 50 percent market share.
According to the NCA, the total cellular/mobile voice subscriber base in Ghana as at September 2012, stood at 24,884,195 with MTN having a subscriber base of 11,269,926.