Hon Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery
Mobile phone users in the Lambussie constituency of the Upper West Region, are being charged foreign prices for local calls by telecommunication companies operating in the country.
According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, Hon Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery, the entire constituency which is also a District have been captured as towns in Burkina Faso and by mobile network operators when communicating via mobile phones within the catchment areas.
The network intereference, he said has become unbearable to the residents mainly farmers whose little credits to get in touch with relatives outside the town are charged as foreign calls.
He said, despite the incessant cries of the constituent for the National Communication Authority (NCA) and the network operators to address the issue, their pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears
The situation undoutedly compelled the MP to dragged the Minister for Communication to parliament to explain the step taken to address such challenges.
Posing the question on the floor of parliament, Mr Dery said, “Mr Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister for Communications what steps are being taken to curb the network interferences from our neighbor, Burkina Faso, which is affecting communication in the entire Lambussie District.?
In response to the question, a Deputy Minister of Communication, Hon George Andah on behalf of the substantive minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, the National Communications Authority (NCA) is conducting a technical investigation into the complaints and the monitoring, processing and analysis exercise would be completed by the end of August 2018.
According to the Deputy Minister, “communications along the border between Ghana and Burkina Faso is governed by a standing Border Coordination Agreement signed at a meeting held in Accra from 25th to 28th September 2012 with the following provisions among others.”
He said, the signal from each country could extend to the other country within a penetration distance of 10 kilometres, stressing that, “the strength of the signal from an operator in a country should not exceed -85 decibel-milliwatts (dBm) at the periphery of the penetration distance in the other country.”
Hon Andah noted that, the Lambussie District is about 16 kilometres from the Ghana-Burkina Faso border, hence the interference from the neiugbouring country.
Consequently, he said if there are complaints of interference caused by signals from Burkina Faso at Lambussie District, there may be a potential breach of the Border Coordination Agreement.
Mr Andah told parliament that, the Ministry and its agencies responsible would conduct a technical investigation through the procedure to verify the issue and take measurements before a complaint is made to the Regulatory Authority in Burkina Faso.
He however assured parliament, the Ministry would apprise the august House as soon as the report is ready.
“Mr. Speaker, in the situation where this breach is confirmed, Ghana will call and hold a coordination meeting amongst the Regulators and Operators involved in September 2018.”
“It would be the position of Ghana for the interference to be cured and bring relief to the residents of Lambussie District by November 2018,” he added.
But Hon Dery said, the sititation is affecting the economic fortunes of his people as they spent much money just to make a local call.
He added that, the network interfering also posed a security threat to the country intelligence as communication could easily be tap or spied upon.
He therefore appealed to the telecoms companies to at least mount their towers or masts to enable the residents get calls signals comfortably.
Source the republic news online.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba