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Business News of Thursday, 1 April 2010


Ghana’s mobile phone penetration reaches 63% in 2009

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Ghana Telecommunications Report Q2 2010

Our Q2 2010 Telecommunications Report on Ghana contains updated forecasts that anticipate the development of the country's fixed-line, internet, broadband and mobile sectors through to the end of 2014. Our new mobile subscriber forecast for Ghana incorporates third and fourth quarter subscriber data published by the country's largest mobile operators.

Specially, they are MTN Ghana, which is owned by South Africa's MTN Group; Zain Ghana, which is owned by Kuwait's Zain Group; Vodafone Ghana, which is backed by the UK's Vodafone Group; and Tigo, which is owned by Luxembourg's Millicom. Our new forecasts also incorporate end-of -year data published by the Ghanaian telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA).

At the end of 2009, Ghana had 15.360mn mobile subscribers; this gave the country a penetration rate of almost 63%. Although growth was slower than in 2007 and 2008, when annual growth of at least 50% was recorded, the Ghanaian mobile customer base expanded by almost 33% in 2009. Although Ghana's mobile market already plays host to four GSM operators and a CDMA operator, the sector is likely to see the arrival of a sixth mobile network operator within the coming weeks. In February 2010, Ghana's Minister of Communications reportedly announced its full support to Nigeria's Globacom to move ahead with its scheduled launch of services under the Glo' brand on March 6 2010. The launch of services by Globacom is expected to provide the mobile subscriber market with a major boost in 2010. According to Ghana's telecoms regulator, the country had just over 267,000 fixed lines in service at the end of 2009. This figure was much lower than we had previously estimated and reflects the limited growth that has occurred in the fixed-line sector in recent months. With over 265,000 fixed lines, Ghana Telecom is still the largest provider of fixed-line services, accounting for over 99% of the market. The latest data suggests that the number of Ghana Telecom fixed lines stagnated in the later part of 2009. This quarterly update on Ghana's telecoms market contains an expanded section on the country's internet sector. Although internet and, particularly, broadband penetration rates are very low, there is enormous potential for growth over the next few years. Key developments include regulatory plans to auction five spectrum licences for broadband wireless access (BWA) services. It is thought that these licences will ultimately be used to offer WiMAX services. Meanwhile, in February 2010, Main One Cable Company announced that it had begun final deployment stage of its Main One cable, a cross-continental submarine fibre-optic network, which will run from Portugal to Nigeria and Ghana. The 1.92Tbps capacity cable network, expected to be launched in June 2010, aims to provide capacity for higher use of broadband internet services in Ghana.

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