Ghana’s National Communication Authority (NCA) has amended the draft Electronic Communications (Interconnect Clearinghouse) Regulations of 2016, which will require telcos and international carriers to connect their gateways through a third party centralised clearinghouse. The bill, presented in parliament in February 2016, seeks to reduce the number of interconnection links in Accra from 32 to 15, address insufficient interconnection capacity, resolve interoperability issues based on differences in telcos’ equipment types, and settle issues within call data records reconciliation which have led to high interconnect debt rates.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Ghanaian operators originally opposed the award of an Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) concession – mooted to be granted by 7 February 2015 for a term of ten years subject to renewal – describing it as an ‘imposition and interference in their operations’, while noting that it would increase the cost of doing business for value added service (VAS) providers. Despite the opposition, the NCA awarded the first ICH license to Afriwave Telecom Ghana after a competitive bidding process against four other applicants later that month. The company commenced operations in May 2016, and now claims to have successfully detected and blocked over 300,000 unauthorised attempts at illegal international call bypasses since launch.