Reliable information reaching Joy Business indicates all four telcos in the country have now fully connected their networks to the government’s Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) to enable traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, fraud management and mobile money monitoring.
The platform, installed and managed by KelniGVG under a build operate and transfer (BOT) deal, had earlier sparked huge controversy over the $1.5million monthly cost to the taxpayer. There were also concerns regarding a possible breach of customer privacy and data security.
After a protracted jaw-jaw in the media and a legal suit by some citizens, the stakeholders have come to a compromise.
Currently, the system is undergoing various levels of testing with the respective telcos towards full implementation later this month.
Officials of the Communications Ministry have confirmed to Joy Business that barring any hitches, the platform would be officially launched on October 22, 2018 by President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo.
Some of the telcos also confirmed that indeed they are connected to the system and they have been informed by the Director-General of National Communications Authority (NCA) at a meeting that the platform will be launched on October 22, 2018.
But the telcos said they are yet to receive formal communication on the launch and take off of the platform. At least one telco, Glo Ghana confirmed that they are fully connected and completed all test so they are ready to go live any day.
They also stated that they are comfortable with the architecture of the KelniGVG system connected to their network and they do not have any concerns about interference with customer privacy.
The CMP contract with KelniGVG is for five years at a cost of US$89million. The contract is open for renewal for another five years if government feels the need to.
Its implementation is in fulfilment of the Communications Service Tax Law, which enjoins the Ministries of Finance and of Communications to establish a CMP for the purposes of revenue assurance, traffic monitoring, fraud management and mobile money monitoring to ensure the state gets the exact tax revenue due it from the operations of the telcos.
The system will monitor the billing platforms and communication traffic flow on the networks of the telcos in real time, without interfering with the content of the communication and with the personal details of customers.
KelniGVG has said that the system was built to conform with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2012, Act 843, so there is no cause for alarm.
Earlier, similar contracts with other companies did not deliver on the real-time partly because the telcos had always resisted attempts by government contractors to connect monitoring machines to their respective networks.
This is the first time a third-party company contracted by government has been allowed by the telcos to connect their real-time monitoring equipment to collect data for the purposes of revenue assurance.
Government is confident the CMP will guarantee the expected tax revenue from the telecom sector, but analyst believes government is on a wild goose chase with the implementation of the CMP because there is no guarantee the state will get any significant increase in revenue from the telecom industry.