Today January 20, 2022

ATC Ghana’s Defacto SMP status, implications for smaller operators

In June 2020 when the Ghana government finally named MTN a significant market power (SMP), the reason precedent in-chief was very simple – MTN had for years controlled about 75 percent share of the industry cumulatively – in terms of subscribers, voice, and data traffic, SMS, value-added services like mobile money and revenue among others.

The main reason subsequent was therefore the need for regulatory interventions to correct the market imbalance.

It was not a secret that MTN was the only profitable operator in Ghana, in the real sense of the word. Indeed, naming MTN SMP was long overdue, as the government would note that under the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP), an operator with 40% or more market share in voice, data, SMS, and value-added services, is considered an SMP. At the time of naming MTN SMP, it had held way more than 40 percent market share for over 15 years.

Now MTN has been subjected to a number of regulatory interventions, aimed at correcting the imbalance in the market. This also places MTN in a position to be a Network as a Service (NaaS) to carry the entire ecosystem along the path of growth.

While the smaller operators are strategizing to take advantage of the regulatory interventions with respect to MTN’s SMP status, they, particularly the much smaller ones, seem to be getting suffocated by their abiding and progressive indebtedness to the defacto SMP in the tower industry, ATC Ghana, which controls an estimated 85 percent of telecom towers in the country.

Figure 1 below shows the telecom tower market share structure in Ghana.

Source: Ghana Web



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