27 Jan 2009

Ghana: Vodafone commits to $120m network upgrade

It has been impossible of late not to set telecoms news and commentary in the context of these troubled times for the global economy. I find myself looking for signs of our sector's resilience. In that spirit, I am keen to flag up examples of telcos committing to significant items of CAPEX. One such, reported last week in the Global Mobile Daily is Vodafone's selection of network vendor Huawei to upgrade the 2G network of the national incumbent carrier, Ghana Telecom, in which the giant cellco acquired a 70% stake back in July 2008.

At the same time as entering Ghana's mobile market, Vodafone also took over Ghana Telecom's fixed-line and broadband operation, which has around 99% of the total number of lines and around 90% share of the retail ADSL market. Ghana Telecom's mobile arm, One Touch, has been something of an underperformer. The MNO claimed 15.49% of mobile subscriptions by December 2008, according to Informa Telecoms & Media's World Cellular Information Service. This represents a slow, but steady decline in market share, which had stood at 18.29% at the end of 2006. Over this period, market-leading Scancom, a unit of the South Africa's MTN has held onto a solid lead over its four rivals. According to an article in Ghana's Chronicle newspaper last week, Vodafone will be aiming to compete more effectively in this context through a "commitment to deliver on its promise of providing a world class service to Ghanaians and to transform Ghana Telecom to an enviable position in the telecom industry."

Ghana will be among the countries to be represented at our West & Central Africa Com event, which this year will take place in Abuja, Nigeria in mid-June. The event will be a good opportunity to network and do business with all those involved in developing the region's telecoms sector.