Since its entry into Ghana in 2006, MTN has followed a systematic plan to expand and upgrade its network in order to extend coverage and enhance speed and performance to meet the dynamic needs of customers.The company has invested approximately GHs 1.7 billion to ensure improved experience for customers in all ten regions, and enable them tostay connected with family, friends and business partners and reap the benefits of mobile communications.
In 2007when the Areeba brand name was changed to MTN following purchase of Areeba owners Investcom Limited by MTN Group in 2006, the MTN network in Ghana supported five million subscribers with fewer than 900 2G sites. Seven years later, by the end of 2013, as a result of systematic, aggressivecapital investments, those figures had increased to 2,275 2G sites and 1,090 3G sites supporting approximately 13 million subscribers. MTN now has the widest network coverage in Ghana, and with 3G coverage in 170 districts, is the only operator in Ghana to have met its license requirement for 3G coverage as of the January 2014 deadline.
MTN Ghana has also made extensive investments in fiber-optic technology.Over 4,000 Km of fibre-optic cable currently deployed in the company’s long-haul route provides increased bandwidth and faster speeds, and has been designed to ensure redundancy/protection to existing routes for stability in site down times and as mitigation for incessant fibre cuts suffered primarily from road construction and small-scale mining. Metro fibre in major cities such as Accra and Kumasi provide enhanced customer data experience.
The company also has three ultra-modern switch centers with failover configuration toensure redundancy to the core elements of the network; when one fails another takes over as an insurance policy against grave outages.
With the increased capacity and enhanced quality resulting from these investments, MTN Ghana subscribers are able to:
• Access the internet faster on their phones and on other devices;
• Access online games and TV services; and
• perform multiple services including voice, video calls, streaming, and browsing while experiencing excellent quality.
For 2014 MTN has identified data as the primary focus for growth and will continue network investments that will ensure the company has adequate capacity and technology to support quality data and voice services as well as value added services like Mobile Money. MTN Ghana plans to invest GHs 311 million in the network in 2014 for further network expansion and upgrades. The company will add 120 new 3G sites and upgrade over 280 3G and 1,450 2G sites, andlong-haul and metro fibre deployment will increase by 790 kilometers and 300 Km respectively. Additional focus will also be placed on power, transmission & fiber redundancy and on IP network modernization & redundancy for stability.
MTN is also investing significant funds, as part of the expansion and focus on its digital advantage through upgrading the number of sites supporting 21 Mbit/s significantly. In addition, MTN has launched the first 42 Mbit/s enabled sites in Ghana in both Kumasi and in Accra, providing even faster Internet experience for its data subscribers.
From a customer focus perspective, MTN is investing in advanced Customer Experience tools to support pro-active review of subscriber experiences and thus provide faster and more accurate customer services.
While implementing its network expansion strategy, MTN must also identify solutions to implementation obstacles and Quality of Service (QoS) impediments. Permitting delays, incessant fibre cuts, power disruptions, and battery and diesel theft represent challenges that must be surmounted.
As customers reap the benefits of digitization in a rapidly evolving communications environment, MTN plans to continue to implement network investment strategies that support innovative solutions to customer demand. The Chief Technology Officer of MTN Ghana, Hendrik Vorster, stated that, “our network investments are aimed at building capacity and staying on the leading edge of technology so that MTN customers can rely on the technology and innovative offers we provide to stay networked and make their lives more efficient.”
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