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GHANA

  • "The freedom of media provision in the 1992 constitution says: 'There shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a license as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information' (Constitution of Ghana, Chapter 12, article 162 Sect. 3 [emphasis added]). Some legal scholars argued that this article authorizes the operation of a radio station and makes no provision for licensing at all. Working with this interpretation, a new private broadcasting station, Radio Eye, run by Independent Media Corporation of Ghana (IMCG) started broadcasting without seeking government approval. The police traced the location of the transmitters and confiscated them. The IMCG then took the matter to the Supreme Court. Thus when the government was ready to re-introduce the [telecommunications reform] bill to parliament in 1996, it had to wait until the Supreme Court decided the case... Fortunately for the government, the July 23 1996 ruling of the court upheld the government's right to regulate the radio spectrum, if the intention is to ensure sanity on the airwaves and not to control either speech or the media..." ---from "Telecom Regulation, the PostColonial State, and Big Business: The Ghanaian Experience" by Amin Alhassan, West Africa Review, volume 4, number 1 (2003).
  • The Licensing webpage at the National Communications Authority includes a table of fees. According to this table, the charges for "Spread Spectrum Usage" in the 2.410-2.483 and the 5.770-5.850 GHz bands by "Private Network Services" are $500 "per region" for initial authorization and $300 "per region" for an annual renewal fee. "Per region" suggests services provided by wireless ISPs, and indeed, the NCA told Isabel Neto that the primary users of the 2.4GHz band are "telecommunications operators and ISPs." The authorization fees for "public" and "corporate" data network services are much more expensive - $8000 and $6400 respectively for annual renewals.
  • In an interview broadcast on Joy FM on 4 December 2007, Dr. Patrick Awuah, the President of Ashesi University, noted that "in other countries one does not need to pay for a license to operate [in] the unlicensed wifi spectrum, but in Ghana, one is expected to pay for it. He said, this situation makes the provision of internet services more costly..."---"Patrick Awuah bares heart, mind about Ghana," Joy FM Online, 5 December 2007
  • According to Wireless Networks for the Developing World: The Regulation and Use of Licence-Exempt Radio Bands in Africa by Isabel Neto (June 2004), WiFi in Ghana is license exempt but "registration" is required - perhaps for those offering public access services? There is no specified power limit. The 5.725-5.875 GHz band is also unlicensed.
  • According to the 2003 ITU World Telecommunication Regulatory Survey, in Ghana "All users of public frequencies are required to seek authorizations that are covered by fees." Cited on page 114 of "The Wireless Revolution and Universal Access" by Michael L. Best (chapter 7 of Trends in Telecommunication Reform, September 2003.
  • "Vodafone unveils Ghana's 'largest' WiFi zone," by Gareth van Zyl, ITWeb, 6 February 2012: "The largest WiFi network in Ghana has been set up by Vodafone, at a university in Accra, said the company's officials over the weekend. Up to 5000 students at the University of Ghana's Legon campus can connect to the network at the same time using their laptops, tablets and smartphones. This development follows the unveiling of the largest Internet café in the country at the Kwame Nkrumah University Science and Technology campus for both students and visitors... The service [in Accra], however, is not free as students have to buy $17 vouchers, available at pay-points on campus, which gives them 100 browsing hours per month."
  • "Internet Ghana Announces Nationwide Rollout of Pre Mobile WiMAX 802.16e Network From Navini Networks," - press release, 28 August 2006: "Internet Ghana's plans are to cover the capital Accra and the ten largest commercial cities such as Tamale, Kumasi and Tema in the first phase...." (No mention of licensing in the press release, but this net is unlikely to be license-exempt.)
  • "Ghana: Government to Overhaul a Failed Liberalization Process," by Guy Engon Zibi, Pyramid Research, 26 February 2002: "Ghana was among the first African markets to see the partial privatization of a state-owned fixed carrier and the introduction of competition in the basic services market in 1997... Ghana is now lagging behind peer markets such as Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire despite being more liberalized... Spectrum management has been messy; mobile operators were allowed to offer services using 'authorizations' rather than formal licenses with clearly defined service obligations... A priority will be the strengthening of the regulatory body, without which - experience has now shown - no meaningful competitive market development will take place."
  • Telecommunications Management Group Inc. "Advised the National Communications Agency (NCA) on spectrum efficiency management issues (including frequency use, spectrum guidelines, fees and licensing procedures and practices)..." ---TMG website, 2006.
  • "Telecommunication Reform in Ghana" by Luke Haggarty, Mary M. Shirley and Scott Wallsten, World Bank, November 2002.
  • Wireless Ghana

Africa - Regional Overview