Business News of Sunday, 15 May 2016
Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Mr. Ebenezer Twum Asante, has reiterated the need to regulate Over -The-Top (OTT) calls and not ban it.
Debunking some media reports which suggested that MTN was calling for a ban on OTT calls, Mr. Asante rather explained that there must be a proper regulation of the platform as OTT calls grow to over 10 percent in the country.
Speaking to journalists at the sidelines of the external launch of the 20th anniversary celebration of MTN, Mr. Asante maintained that even though OTT calls cannot be banned, there is a need to streamline its operations to keep telecommunication companies in business.
According to him, it is impossible to ban OTT calls since it operates through the internet. “We have never mentioned anywhere that OTT should be banned. We do not stand for that, we are rather interested in all the things we need to do to expand internet usage including the medium of OTT. The only thing that we raised was around regulation,” he said.
He explained that the call for a regulation is not the same as a ban since the issue has already generated a global discussion among telecommunication giants. “Regulation should not be equated to a ban. With regulation, all that we are saying is that, just as a company like MTN is regulated by the NCA, so should we also have all the OTTs; the major ones also regulated so that whatever you do on that platform it will be within the laws of Ghana,” he stressed.
With OTT calls hitting over 10 percent, Mr. Asante was of the view that a pragmatic assessment of the platform will help Ghana formulate good policies ahead of new technologies that may popularize OTT calls.
He stated that the regulation will also enable the telcos and government to monitor activities that go through the OTT channel in order to develop innovative programmes around it.
According to him, some countries across the world have taken the lead by regulating activities of OTT calls. Meanwhile, the NCA has also debunked some media reports suggesting that the authority may ban OTT calls.
The authority has further stated that it would hold a public forum to discuss the issue very soon.