MTN Ghana today announced on-net/off-net parity measures on its network for Voice and SMS special plans, promotions and bundle offers to enable customers to enjoy the same rate for calls and SMS on MTN and to other local networks.
In simple terms, it means, from now onwards, when MTN customers make a call or send SMS to numbers on other networks, they will be charge the same as making a call or sending SMS to MTN lines.
In June 2020, MTN Ghana was declared a Significant Market Power (SMP) in the Voice, Data, and SMS markets.
The bases for the declaration, according to the Ministry of Communications, were that MTN has controlled almost 75% telecoms market share cumulatively for many years and that among other factors warrants the implementation of policies to cure the imbalance in the market.
Two years prior, MTN Ghana was reported to have an estimated 94% mobile money market share, whereas about 70 per cent of all phone calls in Ghana terminated on MTN, meaning every telco pays MTN interconnect fees when the reconciliation is done, but MTN pays no one.
The MoC noted that under the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP), any operator with 40% or more market share in voice, data, SMS and value-added services like Mobile Money, is considered a Significant Market Power (SMP). MTN had by then held more than 40% market share for more than 15 years.
As part of the corrective measures, MTN was asked to implement on-net/off-net parity to ensure that there is no difference in call/SMS rate between MTN to MTN numbers and between MTN and other networks’ numbers.
The telecoms market leader was also supposed to implement a 30% asymetrical interconnect rate for two years, to ensure that other telcos pay 30% less per call/SMS to MTN when they do interconnect reconciliation.
MTN was also required to present implementation plans on National Roaming Services within the next 30 days for execution on or before the next 90 days.
Additionally, the National Communications Authority (NCA) was to ensure that it sets a floor/ceiling pricing on Voice, Data, SMS, Mobile Money, etc. in relation to MTN, review and approve all pricing by MTN as required by law, ensure various operator vendors are not subject to exclusionary pricing or behaviour and ensure that MTN’s access to information does not disadvantage any Value Added Service of non-SMP operators.
It is not clear if all the seven conditions have been met by MTN because they filed a law suit to challenge them and later went into negotiation with the NCA, and struck an amicable deal.
But a statement from MTN said the company has “complied with all the defined directives to date by the regulator. The objective is to increase competitiveness in the telecommunications industry.”
This initiative, according to MTN, is one of the remedies imposed under MTN Ghana’s declaration as SMP.
“Full details of the onnet/offnet parity are available on the company’s website www.mtn.com.gh, our social media platforms and will be published in print media. MTN Customers can also dial *550# for details. T‘s & C’s apply,” it said.
The statement said MTN continues to engage the regulator to explore ways of promoting competitiveness in the industry while ensuring value for all its customers through continued innovations in its products and services.
“MTN Ghana remains committed to pursuing its Ambition 2025 strategy which is anchored on building the largest and most valuable platform business to support Ghana’s digitalization agenda,” it said.