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Cabinet Approves Shared Neutral 4G and 5G Networks For Telecommunication Operators

Ghana’s Cabinet has approved the establishment of shared neutral 4G and 5G networks for all telecommunications operators in the country, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has said.

The move is aimed at enhancing internet connectivity and also pave the way for other telecommunication companies to invest in the country. But it’s also coming at a time when Ghana and 13 other West African nations are working to fix last week’s internet outage.

Read Also: Undersea Cable Damage Causes Internet Disruptions Across West Africa

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“I think what has happened has shifted our focus to the need to expedite action on getting that network up and running; that is the commitment that we’ve already undertaken. Cabinet has already given us approval to work on this neutral 4G/5G network which will be available for all network operators, and even new entrants can come to Ghana and utilise it,” she told Parliament on Monday while answering questions about the internet disruption.

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Read Also: Government Working to Licence Starlink, Other Satellite Internet Services – Ursula Owusu

Plans for a shared neutral 4G and 5G network began last year. In August, at the 12th edition of the African Peering and Interconnection forum in Accra, the Minister announced that government was no longer going to auction the 5G spectrum.

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The move is intended to provide a level playing field for all telecommunications firms.

“There was talk about how we are going to do 5G. We will not auction the spectrum because it is only one or two big companies that can buy it and it will continue to create an even more difficult situation for us with the dominance of one or two entities in this country,” she said to Parliament on Monday.

5G services particularly in the West, Europe, and parts of Asia is blossoming. The US for instance reports 5,000 cities covered by 5G, while China says it has over 250 million 5G subscriptions, served by two million 5G base stations.

In Africa, 14 countries have already rolled out 5G services. But Ghana is not one of them.

In 2022, MTN Ghana, the largest telecom operator was preparing its 5G pilot in 2022 but announced a suspension with no reason given.

But with Cabinet’s buy-in now, 5G services would likely commence later this year in September.

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