By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
The National Communication Authority (NCA), the regulator of the telecom industry has indicated that the performance of mobile phone internet in the country was fairly average.
According to the telecom regulator, mobile internet performance for year 2013 increased by 19.4% as at the end of December, 2013.
The total mobile internet performance for month to month in 2013 grew at an appreciable rate with January 2013 recording figures of 8,646,532 total subscribership while at the end of December 2013, the mobile internet subscribership was 10,323,941 countrywide.
Total market share indicated an erratic distribution between the Mobile Operators throughout year 2013.
There were some increases in the subscriber bases of individual Mobile Service providers. MTN’s mobile internet subscriber base rose by 251,719 subscribers as at the end of December 2013 ending with a market share of 47.23%.
Airtel on the other hand subscriber base increased from 1,910,479 in November to 1,915,300 subscribers at the end of December 2013. This represents a market share of 18.55%.
Similarly, Vodafone had a market share of 15.65%, experiencing a subscriber base growth from 1,357,145 at the end of November to 1,615,528 as at the end of December 2013.
Tigo’s subscriber base also increased to 1,577,348 bringing their market share for December 2013 to 15.28%. Glo’s subscriber base increased from 279,054 in November to 301,283 as at the end of December 2013 resulting in a market share of 2.92%.
Expresso, the only CDMA mobile in Ghana ended the month of December with 38,180 subscribers representing a market share of 0.37% for the period under review.
However, mobile internet penetration as at the beginning of 2013 was 33.8% and by the end of the year under review the penetration had increased to 39.5%.
Meanwhile, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World in 2013 ICT Facts and Figures, Mobile-broadband subscriptions have climbed from 268 million in 2007 to 2.1 billion in 2013. This reflects an average annual growth rate of 40%, making mobile broadband the most dynamic ICT market.
It stated that in developing countries, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions more than doubled from 2011 to 2013 (from 472 million to 1.16 billion) and surpassed those in developed countries in 2013.
Africa is the region with the highest growth rates over the past three years and mobile-broadband penetration has increased from 2% in 2010 to 11% in 2013.
The reports said by early 2013, the price of an entry-level mobile-broadband plan represents between 1.2-2.2% of monthly in developed countries and between 11.3-
24.7% in developing countries, depending on the type of service.
However, in developing countries, mobile broadband services cost considerably less than fixed-broadband services: 18.8% of monthly for a 1 GB postpaid computer-based mobile-broadband plan compared to 30.1% of monthly for a postpaid fixed-broadband plan with 1 GB of data volume.
Among the four typical mobile-broadband plans offered in the market, postpaid handset-based services are the cheapest and prepaid computer-based services are the most expensive, across all regions.
A regional comparison highlights that mobile-broadband services remain largely unaffordable in Africa, where the price of a computer-based plan with 1GB of data volume represents on average more than 50%. Services are most affordable in Europe, where they represent on average less than 2%.
In the Arab States and Asia and the Pacific region, postpaid handset-based services are relatively affordable, accounting for 2.2% and 3.5% of monthly per capita, respectively; prices in the Americas and CIS remain relatively high (5% or above of monthly GNI p.c.) for all mobile-broadband services.