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Mobile phone users and Telecom operators


Subscribers or mobile phone users are the major stakeholders in mobile telecom industry. But do they benefit from the industry players? FRED SARPONG writes more on that.
As the time passed, telephone came into existence and today is the era of wireless communication which gives rise to mobile phones. Mobiles are the latest invention and common way to communicate now-a-days. 

Mobile phones are long range, portable and wireless electronic device of communication. A few years back, when mobile phones were not so common, the device was expensive and communication costs pretty good to the user.

But in last a few years as the use of mobiles increased, their cost is decreased considerably and this factor helped a lot to make them available for common men. Mobile phones are now inexpensive, easy to use, and comfortable and equipped with almost every latest feature we desire.

Mobiles are now every one's first choice gadget, either an elderly person or a younger one. It is like a status symbol now. Every persons hand is equipped with latest mobile models and everyone has its own reason to have this magic gadget in his hands.

It is world known that mobile phone users are the major and very important stakeholders in the mobile industry in Ghana and the world over.
But it seems their efforts are not been recognise as they seem not to be benefiting much from the industry players. Various tariffs from the industry players seem to be expensive. Recharge cards ranges from GHc1 to more than GHc10. Some of them do not even sell GHc1.00 card. Call from one network to the same network is even expensive, how much more a call from one network to another network.
However, the industry players are of the view that, indirectly they are giving back to the society from their profits. One of such initiatives from the industry players is their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs). And according to them they offered one of the best network tariffs as compare to some other African countries.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Mr. Michael Ikpoki told Network of Communications Reporters (NCR) that, what goes out of the telecom companies are far more than what comes into the companies. As a company we do not work for lost but rather for profit,’ he added.
The telcos believes that they are giving to various communities’ schools, libraries, water and other social amenities. But how would the entire subscribers of Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN), Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel, Glo and Expresso, which numbered over 24 million benefits from these few social intervention?
In Japan, mobile phone companies provide immediate notification of earthquakes and other natural disasters to their customers free of charge. In the event of an emergency, disaster response crews can locate trapped or injured people using the signals from their mobile phones or the small detonator of flare in the battery of every cell phone; an interactive menu accessible through the phone's Internet browser notifies the company if the user is safe or in distress. Streetdirectory.com.
This is something MTN, Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel, Glo and Expresso have failed to do for Ghanaians. None of these companies have been able to develop a system for their customers, which can prompt the National institutions like Fire Service, the Police, NADMO to quickly act when there is a disaster. The only thing we have in this country is for someone to dial 191, 192 and among others.
But there should be a system connected to these national institutions directly in order to act quickly when there is an emergency situation. Melcom disaster was one of the examples. It took victims the opportunities to call their relatives before some of them were identified.
There is no doubt that the telecom operators in Ghana are surviving because of Ghanaians who buys their products. They really make huge sums of revenue from these poor Ghanaians.  But nothing do they get. They run several promotions but at the end, a few counted Ghanaians benefits.
As the number of subscriber based by the telcos in Ghana increasing, the operators boost with the better services they offering to their customers. However, the customers believe that their service provider’s efforts are nothing to write home about. Poor service delivering is what they always rendered to Ghanaians, and the regulator of the telecom industry, National Communications Authority (NCA) has not been helping at all.
If the revenue generation by the telecom operators is something to depend on, then they must appreciate the contribution from the subscribers or mobile users.
The active mobile phone lines in Ghana increase by 4,352,721 lines, representing 20.47% at the end of December, 2012. The lines increase from 21,265,706 in January 2012 to December last year.
These are contributions from Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN), Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel, Glo and Expresso.
MTN had a marginal increase and maintained its position as the market leader with a subscriber base of 11,734,500 representing 46% of total market share.

Vodafone’s subscriber base increased to 5,259,487 which represent 21 % of total market share.


Tigo had a marginal subscriber base increase, closing at 3,698,409 which represents 14% of the market while Airtel increased its subscriber base to 3,192,154 representing 12% of the total market share.

GLO decreased its subscriber base; its current subscriber base of 1,568,014 represents 6% of the total market share.


Expresso though, decreased its subscriber base to 165,863.The 165,863 represents 1 % of the total market share.
The total penetration of telephone access lines, including fixed lines (25,903,408) stands at 105.05%. But total penetration for mobile lines (25,618,427) is 103.89% and 1.10% recorded for fixed lines (284,981) penetration. All these figures are compared to 24,658,823 Ghanaians.
At the end of the year 2012, the number of fixed lines in the country was 284,981 access lines, representing 1.10% of the total market share of 25,903,408 total access lines, while mobile lines command the lead with 98.89% market share.
However, fixed lines increased by 8,173 lines from January figures of 276,808 lines to 284,981 in December, last year.
Vodafone Ghana remains the major fixed line operator with the market share of 96.38% with 274,661 lines, as compared to total fixed lines of 284,981 in the Ghana. Airtel has just a few subscribers on its fixed line of 10,320, representing 3.62% of the total fixed lines. Total fixed lines at the end of last year were 284,981.
In terms of percentage growth from January 2012 till December 2012, MTN mobile lines went up by 1.14% from 10,249,528 to 11,734,500 at the end of December, last year. Vodafone had percentage growth of 1.21% by recording 4,340,905 in January to 5,259,487 at the end of the period.
Within the period, Tigo also recorded percentage growth of negative 0.98% from a figure of 3,766,538 in January 2012 to 3,698,409 in December, last year. The lines of Airtel increase from 2,725,128 mobile lines from to 3,192,154 recorded in December 2012. Its growth was 1.17%.
The lines of Expresso, the only CDMA network operator, went down during the period, recording a percentage growth of 0.90% from a figure of 183,607 at the end of January 2012 to 165,863 by ending December 2012.
Glo Mobile increased it lines at the end of December, last year from May figure of 468,508, which the company started operation to December 2012 figure of 1,568,014, representing 3.35% growth.
The percentage growth for fixed lines in the country as of December 2012 was 1.03%, from 276,808 at the end of January 2012 to 284,981 at the end of December, last year.
However, Airtel fixed lines percentage growth was 0.96%, from January 2012 of 10,763 to 10,320 in December 2012. Vodafone on the other hand had percentage growth of 1.03% from 266,045 lines to 274,661 lines in December 2012.
With this little statistics, mobile phone users are very important and need to be recognise as such.
Ghanaians are increasingly going mobile in this 21st century and penetration rates have soared from just 2.4% in 2011 to more than 80% in 2012. When measured against the African average of 53% and the developing world average of 78.8%, Ghana’s mobile penetration is comfortably ahead of them.
There are several reasons for this, though two main factors have arguably been the most influential. First rapid growth in the wider economy has led to increased gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and in turn elevated consumer spending.
However, perhaps more prominently, National Communications Authority (NCA) policy and licensing have encouraged and driven private sector tariffs on the continent. 

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