Increasing number of mobile phone subscribers: Infrastructure needed to match growth

Kwaku sakyi Addo, CEO of the Ghana chamber of TelecomsKwaku sakyi Addo, CEO of the Ghana chamber of TelecomsThe total number of mobile voice telephone subscribers in the country  continues to increase, making Ghana one of the country’s with the highest number of subscribers on the continent.

According to the National Communications Authority (NCA), as of February this year the number of subscribers in the country had jumped to 26.3 million subscribers from 25.6 million recorded at the end of December last year.

Against this background, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, has admitted that there must be increased infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of subscribers in the country.

He noted, however, that while the telecom operators were ready to invest in building more infrastructure, including the siting of masts at vantage points, their efforts were being stifled by the refusal of the authorities to grant permits for the mounting of masts.

“Some of the operators have put in requests for permits and they are either being denied or given less than a percentage of what they ask for”, he said.

He noted that was causing a major challenge and indicated that the infrastructure was needed to guarantee service quality in the country.

Many residents have expressed fear about the masts which they claim emitted cancerous radiation.

But their fears have been allayed by Dr Joseph K. Amoako, a Senior Research Scientist at the Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, who stated in the Daily Graphic edition of April 22, 2013 that so far, “Results from our monitoring exercises show that emissions are within the recommended levels”

He, therefore, urged the public not to be misled into believing that that radions from the telecom masts were cancerous as they were being monitored on a regular basis as a precautionary measure.

MTN comfortably maintained its position as the dominant mobile operator with 11,941,887 subscribers at the end of February, this year, representing 45.37 per cent of the total market share of the mobile telephony market in the country.

The company ended December 2012 with 11.7 million. 

Vodafone Ghana also maintained its position as the second biggest telecoms company in the country with 5,551,139 subscribers, representing 21.09 per cent of the market share.

The company, of which the Government of Ghana owns a 30 per cent stake, has managed to close the year 2012 with a subscriber figure of 5.3million.

tiGO is the third largest telecom company in the country with a subscriber base of 3,712,082 as of the end of February, this year, representing 14.10 per cent of the total market share.

tiGO which used to be the second largest mobile company in the country until it lost that slot to Vodafone early last year, closed the year 2012 with 3.6 million subscribers.

Airtel’s subscriber base of 3,341,715 at the end of the period under review represents 12.69 per cent of the total market share.

Airtel is now closely on the heels of tiGO, having closed the year 2012 with a subscriber base of 3.2 million,

GLO which began commercial operations in the country at the end of the first quarter last year has 1,614,117 at the end of February this year.

The company’s subscriber base represents just 6.13 per cent of the total market share. 

At the end of December 2012, its subscriber base stood at 1,578,446.

Expresso’s market share now stands at 0.62 per cent from a total of 163,762 at the end of the period under review. 

In December last year, the company whose fortunes in competition is suffering a major setback, closed with 165,863 subscribers.

Story: Charles Benoni Okine

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