Global communications industry to lose over $300b from customers using OTT
This was made known when the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) launched its 10th Anniversary celebrations in Accra.
The fund, which has in the past decade change many lives through enhancing accessibility of electronic communications, has grown in stature with its award winning project such as the Rural Telephony Project.
Mr Kwabena Owusu Akyeampong, the Administrator of the Fund, told a press briefing to outline activities for the celebration that there would soon be a launch of a key project to further enhance the Fund’s operations.
“In the next few weeks the fund will announce to the Ghanaian public a grand project that will change the face of the funds operations and further enhance our quest to provide access to electronic communications in furtherance of our unique mandate,” he said.
Mr Akyeampong said the combination of the mobile broadband access, smartphone and internet technology had led to the emergence of new breed of consumer mobile voice and messaging communications services which is internet based.
“Without a doubt, basic communications had expanded by leaps and bounds with the advent of these technologies,” he added.
According to industry research, global instant messaging volumes from OTT providers already exceeds SMS volumes with voice-over-IP now accounting for more than 40 per cent of international voice traffic.
It is it is further predicted that the communications industry globally will lose a combined $386 billion from 2012 -2018 from customers using OTT voice applications.
Mr Akyeampong called on the National Communications Authority (NCA) to task the telecommunications companies to address the mounting general concerns about poor quality of data service by consumers.
“Of course the telecommunication operators need to take due note of these complainants and act accordingly,” he added.
He, therefore, called on the NCA to swiftly address the growing number of complaints from telecommunications network operators that they face unfair competition from over the top providers, who are not subjected to the same regulatory burdens as the local operators.
The Administrator said undoubtedly, data is considered as the future and mounting complaints from consumers rightly underscores that assertion.
“We cannot as an industry allow consumers to feel short changed when indeed the growth of the industry is hinges on their patronage,” he said.
Mr Akyeampong said it is crucial for the right mechanisms to be put in place to ensure ultimate consumer satisfaction across the divide.
As part of the anniversary, there would be symposiums, lectures, stakeholder engagements, medical outreach, donation, and thanksgiving service.
In July 2004 Government set up Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunications as an agency of the Ministry of Communications to facilitate the provision of universal access to basic telephony by the unserved and underserved communities in the country.
The Electronic Communications Act 775 promulgated in 2008, gave the legal backing to the agency (which started operations in January 2005), changed the agency’s name to the GIFEC and widened the scope of its mandate.
The mandate includes the provision of access to electronic services including ICT, broadcasting, internet, multimedia service and basic telephony, by the unserved and underserved communities in Ghana.