The license of Kasapa Telecoms Limited, operators of 028 numbers under the Expresso telecom brand, has been revoked since March 15, 2018.
“Consequently, Kasapa Telecom Limited is not licensed to provide any telecommunication services in Ghana,” according to a This is contained in a response from the National Communications Authority (NCA) to Adom News on the current status of Expresso.
The NCA is, therefore, advising holders of 028 numbers to port to other networks if they wish to keep their numbers.
Background of Expresso
In 1993, Celltel Limited was licensed to provide telecommunications services.
The brand name Celltel later became Kasapa, now Expresso.
The licence was for Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), which is an analogue network on a frequency 850MHz, but it was converted to Code Division Multiple Access CDMA 2000 1X in 2005 within the same frequency.
When the company’s name changed to Kasapa Telecoms Limited, it was granted a Mobile Cellular Licence on December 2, 2004, for a period of 15 years, scheduled to expire on 1st December 2019.
But the NCA said, due to a plethora of breaches of its licensing conditions, the company was first given notice of intention to terminate the Mobile Cellular Licence, and termination was subsequently carried out on March 15, 2018.
Legal backing of Expresso
The regulator explained that the revocation was done pursuant to Section 13 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775), citing a number of reasons for the revocation.
The reasons for the revocation include the default of payment of annual regulatory fees since 2014, inability to offer licensed services and coverage obligations since 2014, and engagement in anticompetitive practices by terminating/transiting international traffic as domestic traffic on other networks (SIMBOX fraud).
The other reasons were Expresso’s failure to settle fees for usage of microwave frequencies, inability to meet financial obligations to other telecom operators in respect of Interconnection payments, and failure to meet financial obligations to Porting XS, the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Service Provider.
According to the NCA, Expresso also switched off its network without due notice to the regulator, adding that as far as it was concerned, Expresso does not have any subscription since the network is no longer in operation.
“Due to the existence of MNP, Kasapa subscribers have the choice to port their 028 numbers to networks of their choice,” it said.
NCA said the spectrum withdrawn from Kasapa, a portion of which is good for 4G LTE, will be re-allocated for use considering economic and broader social value.
Meanwhile, all licenses are for 15 years, which means MTN and Vodafone are also up for renewal of their 2G licenses by close of December this year.
Tigo had also been due for renewal of its 2G license this year, but because of the merger with Airtel, it has gained a two-year grace period under the wings of Airtel till October 2021.
But for 3G licenses, all four operators, MTN, Vodafone, AirtelTigo and Glo, are due for the renewal in January 2024.
The NCA said telcos who wish to renew their license must put in an application three months before the license expires, and those who do not wish to renew their license must give the regulator three years’ notice.