Ghana mobile phone operators drive telecoms boom

mobilephreutersGhana’s mobile phone penetration rate has risen to 59.7 per cent after the voice subscriber base climbed to over 31 million.
The dramatic rise in the number of people with access to mobile phones has been attributed to the recent push telecommunication companies to expand their network coverage.
we have received very good reviews on our internet speed and overall quality for voice calls
Ghana’s mobile voice subscriber base increased from February 2015’s figure of 31,028,253 to 31,154,420 in March.
During the same period, the mobile phone penetration rate for the stood at 115.64 per cent.
MTN, which has controls 50 percent of the market share, has invested more than $2.4 billion in network expansion and systems improvements projects since 2006.
MTN Officials say the investment over the years has resulted in increased network capacity, improved data speeds and reduction in overall network congestion.
The company also plans to invest another $103 million in network improvement and expansion in 2015, says MTN’s corporate services executive, Cynthia Lumor.
“Over the medium term, our priorities are driving growth beyond voice, creating a distinct customer experience while ensuring that we optimise costs,” she told journalists.
The West African country has a population of 26 million people, which experts say presents a very big market for mobile phone companies.
Tigo chief technical and information officer, Ron Reddick said with the increasing smartphone penetration and the rapid development of new services and applications, additional network investment and expansion works became necessary.
Tigo said it was pushing for a $24 million network expansion and hoped that the first phase of the project would see 114 cell sites in four months’ time going up to boost network quality and capacity in three regions.
“We have just started the new roll outs and the feedback is excellent,” Reddick said.
“For instance, we had some congestion within the Airport Residential Area in Accra, which affected customer experience, since splitting up the traffic and migrating some customers unto the new cell sites, we have received very good reviews on our internet speed and overall quality for voice calls,”
Last year Airtel Ghana invested 200 million cedis in a nationwide network expansion which was part of the company’s plans to “offer exceptional data services.”
Out of that amount, the company said 150 million cedis was spent on expanding its data footprint.
However, in spite the heavy investment, Ghana’s communication regulator has often fined companies for delays and poor network quality.
But the operators blamed their poor performance on bureaucracy, which they said slowed the expansion of network coverage.
In the last decade, analysts said the mobile sector in Ghana had enabled 12.6 million people, about 50 percent of the population, to access the benefits of mobile communication growth.
“Mobile and broadband services promote digital inclusion, enabling millions to benefit from the exchange of ideas and information, reduced communication costs and improved access to healthcare, education and financial services,” said Digital Inclusion and Mobile Sector Taxation in Ghana.
Ghana has been successful in expanding access to mobile services, and penetration rates exceed the regional average, it added.
Meanwhile, when the number of unique subscribers is considered, half the population remains without access to mobile services.
World Bank data indicates that only about 12 percent of the population are regular internet users.
Mobile phone users in Ghana have also faced challenges with of poor service due to network congestion.

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