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Mobile Penetration Rate to Hit 60 Percent by End of Year
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General News of Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Source: Chronicle

Mobile Penetration Rate to Hit 60 Percent by End of Year

Ghana's Mobile penetration base is estimated to hit 60 percent by the end of 2009, with the take off of 3G mobile telephony standards, according to a new market report.

Ghana recorded a mobile penetration rate at close to 50%, and nearly 11.8mn mobile subscribers by the end of 2008. However penetration broke through the 50% mark in the first quarter of 2009, and is expected to end the year with 60% penetration, the report predicted.

The report indicated that currently, an estimated 55 per cent of Ghanaians owned personal mobile phone numbers. This is up from 22 per cent in December 2006, 33 per cent in 2007, and 50 per cent in 2008. The figure is expected to reach 85 per cent in 2013.

At the end of 2008, Zain launched in Ghana as the fifth operator on the market, while the sixth being telecom giant Globacom, is yet to roll out, after securing an operational license last year.

The report indicates that coverage of the new 3G services remains fairly minimal, but the operators are working at expanding it, and Vodafone has contracted Huawei to upgrade its own network.

It anticipated that 3G would help boost the uptake of internet services in Ghana, and will hopefully give the operators a fresh revenue stream, which may be helpful as the increasing levels of competition puts some pressure on their average revenue per user.

The report suggested that Ghana's fixed-line market was looking fairly healthy, as African fixed-line markets go. Penetration is close to 2%, and Vodafone is apparently investing in extending its network.

At the same time, the National Communications Authority (NCA) is in the process of issuing national and zonal fixedwireless licences, in an effort to promote competition in the fixed-line sector, and reinvigorate the market.

As the current market leader in Ghana, with a market share of over 52 per cent of all telephone subscribers in the country, while Vodafone Ghana is also making remarkable strides, as it has roped in 800,000 more customers nationwide, making it the fastest growing network in the country, according to Major Albert Don Chebe (rtd), Head of Corporate Communications.

In December 2008, the Main One cable company received landing rights to connect its undersea cable to increasing the bandwidth of Ghana.

Internet use has been quite slow to take off, and a cheaper international bandwidth will certainly be beneficial.

However, it may have a more dramatic impact on other areas of the telecoms industry, since all carriers have to pay, one way or another, for international connectivity, and reductions in costs could lead to lower prices, which are often lamented as being too high.

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