Business News of Wednesday, 27 September 2006
Accra, Sept. 27, GNA - The Ministry of Communications on Wednesday set the stage for an interaction between telecommunication operators, policy makers, regulators and the media in Accra and dosed Journalists with who-is-who in the industry.
The muscle flexing began after Professor Michael Ocquaye invited the representatives of the telecommunications operators to make individual presentations after which the Journalists could also make contributions or ask questions.
The representatives of Tigo, Kasapa, Ghana Telecom, Westel and Areeba took turns to talk about, who was the leading service provider and whose products and its features were the best. Tigo's Managing Director, Gareth Townley said within the six months of changing its brand from Buzz to Tigo, quality of service had improved.
Mr Townley said the Company, Millicom, intended to invest six million dollars by the end of 2006 for expansion and to ensure that it maintained a lead in delivering innovative services such as musical ring tones while waiting for calls to be picked and also to improve on its wireless services.
Millicom is expecting about 90 per cent of mobile phone-using population of Ghana to be hooked to its Tigo services by the close of 2007.
Bob Palitz, Managing Director of Kasapa, said his Company was in the business of making sure "it takes care of the home before considering others".
He explained that the Kasapa services were purely a local product meant for the typical Ghanaian mobile phone user, who did not need complicated functions.
He reminded the Tigo representatives that despite their quality services and claim to be a leader, the National Communications Authority rating put Kasapa first while Tigo placed second.
Mr Palitz said Kasapa had maintained a tight focus on its features and made sure that the ordinary Ghanaian could afford to buy and use the phone to make calls because they really needed to make the calls. "People do not have to make the calls because they are afraid their credit will expire or that their numbers will be taken away for non-use of the lines."
Mr Palitz said Kasapa has been able to cover about seven regions and is currently functioning within the Western and Volta Regions. The facility can now be used to send and receive text messages to and from other networks.
Mr Dickson Oduro-Nyanning, a Deputy Director at Ghana Telecom represented his Company. He said GT was a one-stop-shop for all telecommunication services providing mobile, Internet and fixed line services to its customers.
Mr Oduro-Nyanning said GT provided high-speed broadband on copper facility as well as a mobile phone facility that enabled users to communicate even when they did not have credit.
He said GT, however, faced a big challenge of theft of its cables. He said the act could be sabotage and urged partners in the industry and the media to help to expose the perpetrators.
Ms Ursula Owusu, Acting Managing Director of Westel, said it was over a year since the its foreign shareholders left and that restructuring of the Company was advanced and by the first quarter of 2007, Westel would be offering a full range of services to current and would be customers.
She, however, declined to disclose any of the Company's programmes. Areeba's new Managing Director, Mr Brett Goschen did not make any contribution but his representative said the Company was in the process of integrating and merging with MTN, a telecommunication giant based in South Africa.
According to him, Areeba had been the leader of the industry for the past four years and expressed the hope that customers would be able to make cheaper international calls with ease especially, within the African region by January 2007.
The representative from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Mr Bernard Forson said when there was more interconnectivity the industry became bigger because their virtual strengths were linked. He called on the industry players to cooperate with the National Communications Authority to meet commitments made for the years ahead.