Vodafone gets provisional 4G license for $30m

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has named Vodafone Ghana as winner of the one of the recently auctioned 2x5MHz frequency spectrum block in the 800MHz Band for mobile services.

A statement from the NCA said this followed successful financial negotiations between Vodafone and the regulator.

The auction process begun in September 2018 when the NCA published a Request for Applications (RFA) and made available three (3) lots of 2x5MHz in the 800MHz band.

The asking price from the NCA was $33.75 million and only two companies, Vodafone Ghana and Quantum Oil submitted applications.

Vodafone Ghana was said to have offered $24 million, while Quantum Oil put in a $2 million bid pending negotiations.

The NCA statement said following negotiations, Vodafone Ghana, has been provisionally awarded one (1) lot of the 2x5MHz in the 800MHz Band at a price of $30 million.

Vodafone therefore joins MTN as the only two telecoms companies with licenses to rollout 4G services. But there are five other players in the space, namely Surfline, Blu, Zipnet, Telesol and Busy Ghana, each of whom are struggling to survive.

Market leader MTN is in the process of acquiring a sixth player with a spectrum to offer 4G services, and that is Goldkey Telecoms.

The licensing conditions that come with the Vodafone license is that the spectrum is technology neutral, which means it can be used to rollout all kinds of technology without a new license.

Vodafone would also be required to establish a minimum of 25 per cent Ghanaian ownership in the company within two years, but as things stand now, government already has 30 per cent shares in Vodafone Ghana.

The coverage obligations are that by 36 months – minimum of all six metropolitan capitals and 20 other municipal and district capitals should have been covered.

By 48 months – minimum of additional 50 municipal and district capitals should have been covered; and by the end of 60 months – minimum of additional 50 district capitals should have coverage.

By Samuel Dowuona

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