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Opinions of Thursday, 22 April 2010

Columnist: Dzorpke, Philip

Vodafone’s One Year Milestones? Shameful!

By Philip Dzorpke, UEW-K

On 16th April, 2010 Vadodafone celebrated its one year anniversary and listed its so-called “achievements and milestones for in just 12 months of being in Ghana.” Below are supposed to be some of its milestones:

. Our broadband is best selling in Ghana now; we've grown it by over 50%;

• The Vodafone cafés have the highest speed, in Africa, with 40MB of speed;

• We have invested heavily to fix the broadband legacy from GT to make it more efficient and more reliable; and

I certainly take issues with the above assertion and proclaimed achievements, following an article, “Is Vodafone Up To The Challenges or A Sham” that I recently published on Ghanaweb.com- arguing that Vodafone’s telephony and broadband Internet services in Ghana have been anything but atrocious.

Regarding growing 50% in one year, Vodafone’s success has been caused by what it (Vodafone) promised its Ghanaian customers and not what it has actually achieved. My small knowledge in business education tells me that a company’s ultimate success of a depends not on its short-term growth but by its repeat and loyal customers. Customer’s believe that their solutions are being solved and are getting value for their money.

About improving GT’s legacy broadband lines to make them “efficient and reliable,” this claim is fallacious, if not laughable. Somehow, Vodafone brags about its cafes being the fastest in Africa, with 40MB speed. Yet, none of Kumasi small-operated cafes that subscribe broadband services from them (Vodafone) get working or reliable service, much less adequate speed. This has caused a lot of cafes in Kumasi to close down, leading to Ghanaian youths loosing their jobs.

The issue is, Vodafone, like most foreign-owned businesses in Ghana only care for profits, and to heck with Ghanaian customers. The lack of competition, buttressed by corrupted politicians who continue to approve such shoddy deals that are good for their pockets rather than the interest of the nation, has led to such under developmenent in Ghana. Else, in what other country will the government or Ministry of Communication allow a monopoly such as Vodafone to open Internet Cafés?

That will only be allowed if Vodafone had agreed not to use its ownership of the entire telecom architecture in Ghana as a competitive advantage over its smaller competitors. And that is why Vodafone does operate Internet Cafes in any other nation across the globe.

I, therefore, appeal to the Ghanaian customer to rise up and begin regular protests against Vodafone for its failure to fulfill its promises and taking Ghanaians for fools, until they offer us quality services. We should also contact our government representative, and all other stakeholders.

Let us remember Emperor Haile Selassie quote that, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”