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Ghana: regulator allows free 2G to 3G upgrade for telcos

Ghana: regulator allows free 2G to 3G upgrade for telcos

Ghana's telecom regulator has granted permission to telcos with existing 2G licences in the country to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS), 3G technology, in selected areas for free.

The National Communication Authority (NCA) says its decision is based on efforts to promote digital inclusion, particularly for customers in unserved and underserved areas, as well as to support telcos to maximise the use of available spectrum.

Once approved by the regulator, telcos will be able to use the same spectrum for the additional service.

Application and authorisation fees/charges to offer the service are also waived for interested telcos - though the authorisation will only be for the unexpired term of each applicant's 2G licence.

Offering 3G in the 900MHz band instead of the originally-authorised 2100MHz frequency (in Ghana) can typically double or triple the coverage area of the service.

This would expectedly be the case as the upgrade will enable telcos to expand their data coverage with minimum expense, especially as they will be able to deploy over a large area at less cost.

This will enable them to engage new, unserved areas previously sidelined because of the prohibitive cost of deploying base stations.

By NCA's definition, unserved communities are those with no communications service while underserved communities may have only 2G services (with no 3G service by an operator) or may have poor 3G services by an operator.

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