NCA wades into MTN, Expresso call block dispute

10 Nov 2014

Following MTN Ghana’s decision to terminate its Interconnect Agreement with smaller domestic rival Expresso (formerly Kasapa Telecom) from 1 November 2014, due to ‘uncontrollable circumstances’, local telecoms watchdog the National Communications Authority (NCA) has taken steps to mediate the dispute between the two operators. The watchdog disclosed that it ‘has since the beginning of the year made consistent and intensive efforts to help Expresso address its difficulties by managing various crisis situations and to ensure that the network is able to meet all its obligations’. Whilst the NCA disclosed that it is still monitoring the issue, and will take the appropriate action after a comprehensive review of the situation, it has reminded Expresso’s subscribers that, if they so wish, they can make use of the mobile number portability (MNP) service and change to another provider.

TeleGeography notes that last week MTN Ghana blocked incoming calls from Expresso’s networks due to the cellco’s inability to settle its debts. Local news agency Spy Ghana cites MTN Ghana’s CEO, Serame Taukobong, as saying: ‘Unfortunately, it is a combination of financial and regulatory issues, so we’ve tried as much as possible to minimise the impact on MTN costumers … We hope the issue will be resolved as soon as possible. It can only be resolved if Kasapa shows [a] commitment to honour its financial obligations.’ According to the executive, the main challenge is Expresso’s affiliation with Sudatel, which ‘has made it difficult to raise capital locally and internationally and deal with vendors’.

Ghana, Kasapa Telecoms (Expresso), MTN Ghana, National Communications Authority (NCA), Sudatel (Sudani)