Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Ghana's communications minister, said the government has no plans to reduce the cost of the remaining operating license for 4G spectrum.
To date MTN is the only operator to have secured the license at a cost of US$67.5 million – a bid that no other operator could match.
Responding to several calls urging the government to reconsider the cost of the license, including from the CEO of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda Cuba, Ekuful advised operators to rather unify and form a collective in order to obtain the license for the remaining spectrum.
"I have indicated in the meetings I have had with the operators that consolidation is the way to go and we would actively promote any effort to consolidate their operations and build more synergies instead of going for loans and incurring the huge capital outlaw which the industry demands," said the Minister.
Defending the cost of the spectrum, Ekuful said it was "reasonable considering the margins that come with it."
"It is reality, but US$67.5 million was what we sold the spectrum for, I think if you look at the profit to be made in the sector, for me, it was a reasonable amount, I don't know, but there is no way that we will go below that amount now."
NCA poised for 5G
In a related development, Ghana's National Communications Authority (NCA) is urging the telecommunications industry to implement measures to ensure that the country joins the rest of the world in quickly migrating to 5G, although there is currently no standard for 5G deployments.
According to the Principal Manager of the NCA's legal division, Robert Apaya, the Authority is poised to be the driving force behind telecommunications to increase high speed coverage in Ghana.
"Telecom industry professionals should adjust to a new era of interconnectivity in accordance with NCA protocols. Telecom operators also need to comply with NCA's guidelines on the erection of telecommunication masts especially at densely populated areas to avoid undesirable health effects," he said.