Ebenezer Twum Asante, MTN Ghana CEO
By: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express
Scancom Ghana Limited, the operators of mobile telecommunication network (MTN) which is the leading mobile service provider in the country says it’s ready to rollout 4G LTE services to Ghanaians after the company won the 2x10MHz spectrum block in the 800MHz band.
MTN Ghana was declared winner by the National Communications Authority (NCA), after the other three local companies competing with MTN failed to turn up at the auction day.
MTN will be given provisional license to rollout 4G LTE services in the country and subsequently confirmed by the regulator based on its performance.
According to Mr. Ebenezer Twum Asante, the Ghanaian Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana said this is a breakthrough to the company and this will challenge them to provide better services to all Ghanaians.
He said “we are ready, our equipment are ready, our expert staff are ready and our customers are ready with the 4G compliant devices waiting for us to rollout the service, and we can’t wait any longer,” said MTN Ghana CEO.
Proving to Ghanaians why MTN deserve the 4G LTE license, Mr. Asante said all over the world, the demand for data has climbed dramatically as more data-intensive applications become available, more and more people use smart phones, and our lives become increasingly connected.
“The average user of mobile data wants the fastest connectivity to transact business, access entertainment, participate in online conferences, download large files and many more. As technology has evolved, so has customer experience in the use of communications. Yesterday’s voice and text customer was well served with 2G. With the introduction of 3G, our data experience was significantly improved with faster downloads and opportunities for more enhanced Internet experience,” he stated.
According to him, “as our lives become more and more unlettered, as we demand to do everything on the go, ultra-high-speed, ubiquitous connectivity and millisecond download times have become part of the customer expectation. 4G technology, designed to deliver five to 10 times the speed of 3G data speed has therefore become the wave of the future.”
As the leading mobile service provider in Ghana, MTN see it as their responsibility to give their customers the opportunity to enjoy advanced technology that enhances their individual and business endeavours.
Beyond that, “one of our fundamental beliefs is that creating value for our host nation drives mutual success. Wide adoption of 4G as a complement to our existing wide 2G and 3G deployment in Ghana provides direct and attendant benefits for consumers and businesses and ultimately contributes to the development of this nation; hence our bid to acquire a 4G spectrum licence,” Mr. Asante pointed out.
He said MTN needs the spectrum license to roll out 4G services because the spectrum is what fuels the wirelessly connected lives the company lead. “Wireless companies need spectrum to transmit voice and data signals. As consumers and businesses become more and more connected, using their mobile devices for more activities, the need for spectrum increases. The more spectrum an operator has, the more data it can carry to subscribers; the bigger the highway used to deliver data to subscribers, the better the experience,” he explained.
In 2012, the NCA awarded the licenses to three indigenous companies (Surfline Communications, Goldkey Telecoms and Migson Communications) to develop and operate broadband networks to provide nationwide broadband wireless access (BWA) services.
Per the conditions of their licenses, the BWA providers were to commence operations not later than 24 months from the effective dates of their licences, and rollout obligations were defined in zones, based on population density, and generally required coverage of 22 districts within 18 months, 77 districts within 36 months, 114 districts within 48 months, 126 districts within 60 months and all districts across Ghana within 72 months.
More than three years after the BWA licenses were awarded to the local companies and Ghana has not been able to achieve the objectives of the 2600 MHz allocations.
These companies again tried to bid for space in the 800MHz band, meanwhile they were not able to deploy the 2500MHz.
One may ask how many districts in the country can access 4G services? What is the 4G LTE penetration in Ghana? Has 4G visibly expanded economic opportunities due to collateral effects of affordable communication access? Indeed, are 4G services affordable for the broad cross-section of Ghanaians? Has the current 4G offer contributed to bridging the digital divide and attainment of socio-economic balance?
MTN Ghana rolling out 4G LTE will surely let the those companies already offering 4G services to sit up and also offer affordable price to customers. Competition must be the key to this sector.
It is only MTN Ghana which paid the 10% initial deposit to qualify for the auction. The other three companies (Surfline Communications, Goldkey Telecoms and Migson Communications) failed to pay the 10% initial deposit.
MTN then had to pay the minimum price of US$67.5 million for the spectrum. However, the three paid for the non0refundable registration fees of GHc200,000.
After winning the license, MTN Ghana is supposed to award 35% of the operational activities to a local company in the country. Will it be one of these companies: Surfline Communications, Goldkey Telecoms and Migson Communications? We are watching!