The Government has tasked the National Communications Authority (NCA) to liaise with mobile network operators and other relevant state agencies to determine the level of risk posed by the influx of counterfeit mobile devices on the market.
Mr George Andah, a Deputy Minister of Communications, who gave the directive during his keynote address at a forum in Accra on Friday, to mark this year’s World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTSD), said the presence of those devices on the market posed health and security risk to the people.
He said government would not hesitate to disconnect fake mobile phones from use, similar to measures Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania undertook to curb the phenomenon.
The Deputy Minister noted that those fake devices contained high radiation emission and affects the quality of communication services while some unscrupulous people used them to perpetuate crime.
He, therefore, urged the NCA to liaise with the mobile network operators to ensure all electronic communication equipment imported into the country meets the required global standards, noting that, one of the challenges facing developing nations was sub-standard electronic devices since they did not have authentic mobile equipment identity and International Identity Numbers.
He urged the public to refrain from using pre-registered SIM cards, operating SIM box equipment, damaging optic fibre cables, operating broadcasting station without authorisation, and indulging in mobile money fraud and warned that those found culpable would be dealt with accordingly.
The Deputy Minister lauded the NCA for acquiring the Tariff Approval Laboratory, which is capable of testing all electronic communication equipment to ensure they meet the requisite international standards.
Mr Andah noted that out of the over five million handsets imported into the country annually, only 40 per cent had their duties paid.
He said the Ministry was working with relevant state agencies to put in place a system where only devices with duty paid would be connected to mobile network operators, he added.
This year’s celebration of the WTSD was held on the theme: “Bridging the Standardization Gap” and also marks the 50th anniversary since its inception in 1969.
The event attracted key stakeholders in the telecommunication industry, including Chief Executives of the telecommunication network operators, Consumer Protection Agency, representatives of the United Nations Agencies, Directors and staff of the National Communication Authority.
The Day was observed to raise awareness about the significance of the theme and encourage the implementation of international standards in Ghana’s communication sector in the quest to bridge the digital divide
Mr Andah said for the nation to ensure a level playing field for technological investments and quality delivery of products for consumers, it was critical to take standardization seriously.
He said the country had made significant progress in standardizing her telecommunication industry and commended the NCA for the tremendous work in enforcing compliance on the market.
The NCA, in April, this year, was selected by the International Communication Union as its training partner in the delivery of quality of service training programme in Ghana and across Africa after the Authority satisfied the requisite conditions set by the global telecommunication body.
The Deputy Minister noted that Ghana, being a member of the ITU Council, took standardization very seriously, therefore the Government, through the Communications Ministry, would ensure all the relevant policies, regulations, guidelines and infrastructure investment were provided to bring the nation at par with globally acceptable standards.
He lauded the NCA for drafting the Quality of Service Regulations to reflect technological advancement and urged all stakeholders to make relevant inputs into the draft regulation for a robust and holistic document.
Mr Joe Anokye, the Director General of the NCA, in his welcome address, said over the last few years, the NCA had invested heavily in technical monitoring equipment, which enabled the Authority to play its regulatory role and ensure compliance of all required QoS Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the satisfaction of the end user.
Some of those equipment included Network Monitoring System and the Nemo Quality of Service System for Drive Test.
Mr Anokye pledged the NCA’s resolve to work with all the relevant state institutions to enforcing compliance of telecommunication standards in order to safeguard the environment and health of Ghanaians.