Ghana’s National Communication Authority Must Be Crazy | The NCA is Contemplating On Banning WhatsApp, Viber & Others Because MTN and Others Say They Are Losing Money

by Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri | May 11, 2016 12:00 am


Sometimes, it feels as though having been born a Ghanaian, especially living in Ghana then-after is a grand curse from the gods.

Jimmy Uys was wrong when he said “ The Gods Must Be Crazy,” he meant, Ghana’s National Communication Authority (NCA) Must Be Utterly Crazy—for wasting their time to even contemplate on such an absurdity and considering cutting Ghana from the pillars of global communication and development.

As it stands[3], the NCA says it has received a proposal from MTN and other telecommunication companies in Ghana, saying the various Over-the-Top applications which make it necessary for users to message freely and make free calls are causing them a lot of business loss—and as such they want WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and others banned.

It’s the NCA’s contemplation or announcement that it is even considering this obvious absurdity that makes them crazy—such a proposal should have been tossed out of the window, the minute it was presented.

Yet, the NCA says, it is considering it—somewhat an indication that the proposal has some sort of merit in their prima facie estimation.

What about the NCA considering a proposal to fine MTN and the other networks which continue to delivery appalling and straight from hell services to the millions of Ghanaians?

How about the NCA ensuring that these telecommunication companies provide customers with at least a reasonable services and step out their utterly disgusting customer service? That doesn’t seem to be part of the NCA’s priorities since the status quo remains—but it has assumed the mandate, and it seems to have the time and resource to waste on considering a ban of free calls and messaging apps.

This is the most useless and pathetic development I’ve heard coming out of Ghana in a long—and trust me, a lot of hogwash are cooked in Ghana every single minute.

Perhaps, these telecommunication companies have forgotten that, they sell data to Ghanaian customers at exorbitant rates and dish out to them excessively slow  internet connections.

Beyond that, whatever legal a customer does with a purchased internet data should not be the problem of the seller—especially when we live in a high connectivity globe with increasing technological developments aimed at granting users cheaper and free access to communication. Would the situation have been the same if the customers were in large percentages running off their data quickly because of an certain apps being used, making these telecos more profits?

I guess the NCA will soon contemplate on banning Facebook and others too—because even Facebook has a free messaging and call add-ons which are increasingly becoming popular.

If the telecommunication companies are losing money because of these under examination applications, what about the fact that these applications are so convenient, cheaper and reliable to Ghanaians—after all, businesses want to make huge profits, and Ghanaian customers deserve to save a little cash on their already pressed disposable incomes.

In a country like Ghana where mobile providers charge a fortune for calls and text and even for data— it’s inevitable that the use of WhatsApp and others will become extremely popular and a threat to the profits of these providers, but that’s their lost and technological advancement has directed so, not even the end-user.

All around the world, that’s the situation for telecommunication companies—and in other stable and sane countries, these telecommunication companies have adopted innovative ideas to make up for the profit lost caused by these apps, not to ridiculously call for their restriction or ban.

Interestingly, Zimbabwe, which is considered by many as the North Korea of Africa was presented with a similar proposal from the country’s telecommunication companies to ban the Over the Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber not long ago and this was rejected by the government.

In the same pit, the Zimbabwean regulation just like that of Ghana was about the telecommunication companies increasing fall of profits— “the regulatory intervention was supposed to help the operators deal with the declining voice revenues in telecoms that have been accelerated by the same OTT services,” TechZim reported[4].

The website wrote that, Zimbabwe’s “government turned down this suggestion and instead, encouraged the operators to view this as an opportunity to encourage young Zimbabweans to develop local solutions that can rival the Silicon Valley OTT services while generating revenue that can benefit the country. This is what led to the telecoms operators’ commitment to a fund that will support Zimbabwean app developers.[5]

There’s enough precedents out there to serve as the backbone of an NCA’s complete and instant throw-out of such a proposal and that’s why they seem crazy to me, to even say they are considering such an unreasonable proposal.

They should be spending that time being used to consider the proposal to examine and evaluate the services of these providers rather—because they are stifling Ghanaian customers.


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