Philip Sowah Explains Ghana’s Mobile Internet Revolution

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Mobile internet is basically an extension of the internet on mobile devices which allows users to access the internet even when they are on the move. However, mobile internet

has proven to be a lot more than that.

It is a convergence of telecommunications technologies and internet in such a way that it provides solutions to all types of communication requirements of today.

In the last few years, the use of cell phones has increased in quite a dramatic way.

The way that people prefer to communicate and stay in touch with the world has changed. In the next decade, the expansion of the mobile internet will likely be the fastest growing marketplace in the telecommunications industry.

Commenting on the best way to utilize mobile technologies to bridge and address the internet penetration gap, Mr Sowah mentioned strategies like constant innovations, competitive pricing, compelling experiences, awareness creation to benefit customers, increase accessibility, design policies to encourage the use of mobile internet as well as improving skills through education for both professional and individual consumers.

According to him, while mobile technologies can be used to bridge the gap, constant product and price innovations will help in reaching out to more users.

He said because disposable incomes of people are low, the cost of internet must be affordable to all to access particularly certain compelling experiences like speed, mobility, convenience and value-added services to promote reliable services.

Furthermore, he stressed on how an intensive public campaign on the use of the internet, as well as knowledge on how to use it would increase access to back-end and front-end internet technology, and also greater reach through a bigger network.

However, to fill this deficiency of internet access in the market, the MD said Ghana required more than just technology.

On policy, he mentioned regulatory, infrastructure and e-governance as key elements that were needed.

Mr Sowah continued that Zain Ghana has been a good example for relentlessly striving to provide internet access to as many Ghanaians as possible. Zain Ghana’s 3.5 G technology boasts of high speed data transmission and reliability.

“Zain Ghana was the first to launch video calling and faster internet as well as bundles. Most importantly, mobile internet access at affordable prices.

Zain Ghana also has various devices to serve the various segments of customers such as students, business executives, corporate clients, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises SMEs, among others.

It also enhances the internet/mobile phone convergence, allowing customers to upload and download music and video from the internet on their mobile phones at ultra high speeds.

You can make calls and send picture messages to one another. With the 3.5G technology, Zain customers can also download or stream videos at ultra high speed.
Mobile internet, in addition to being a sufficient substitute, is an added advantage.

“Internet penetration is going to grow with majority of our future customers being young and upwardly mobile users. People are constantly on the move.

The success of the sale of one million i-pads already indicates the significance of mobile internet devices over fixed internet usage.

“However, mobile internet is available through smart phones, other mobile internet devices and wireless modems such as dongles that provide mobile internet access when connected to laptops which could also be used as desktop personal computers.”

Though national internet penetration statistics already include internet usage, not many people are using the internet on their handsets, most of which are unlikely to be smart phones.

Dongles, notebooks, wireless routers, smart phones and the blackberry constitute the device strategies for Zain Ghana which has also chosen the pay-as-you-go, daily-on-phone, daily-on-pc and also the Zain @ office solutions.

Zain Ghana is further bridging the urban/rural internet connectivity gap with its partnership with the Millennium Village Project (MVP) and Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) Project at Odumase.

Data suggests that by 2014, almost everybody will be using a smart phone.

“If we want to increase internet penetration of Ghana for its socio-economic benefit with a realistic growth number, the next challenge will be educating audiences properly.

Mobile data traffic will double every year and will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 108 percent from now till 2014 and the Middle East and Africa will have the strongest growth.

From the mainframe computing in the 1960s, society witnessed mini computing in the 1970s, personal computing in the 1980s, desktop internet computing in the 1990s and mobile internet computing in the 2000s.

By Samuel Boadi