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Ghana - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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3G mobile broadband services represent the vast majority of Internet connections

Ghana has been a pioneer in African telecommunications: It launched the first cellular mobile network in sub-Saharan Africa in 1992, it was among the first countries on the continent to be connected to the Internet and to introduce ADSL broadband services, and it led the way in market liberalisation and deregulation when it privatised Ghana Telecom (GT) as early as 1996. Since then, Ghana has become one of the continent’s most vibrant mobile markets with now six competing operators, including regional heavyweights such as MTN, Vodafone, Millicom (Tigo) and Zain which was taken over by Bharti Airtel of India in 2010.

The entry of Nigeria’s Globacom as the sixth mobile player in 2012 has delivered another boost to the sector. Subscriber growth, however, has come at the expense of the average revenue per user (ARPU) which has fallen below US$5 per month for some of the operators. While the voice market is approaching saturation at more than 90% penetration in mid-2012, enormous potential in both subscriber and ARPU terms exists for 3G mobile broadband services which already represent the vast majority of Internet connections in the country.

Internet user penetration was below 10% of the population until recently, but developments are now speeding up following the introduction of wireless and 3G mobile broadband technologies such as iBurst, WiMAX and HSPA. The arrival of three new international fibre links between 2010 and 2012 has ended the monopolistic pricing of international bandwidth. This, in combination with national fibre backbone networks that are being rolled out by various players, is revolutionising the country’s broadband market and paving the way for convergence of technologies and services.

Market highlights:

Mobile penetration has broken the 90% barrier;
Sixth mobile network and fourth international submarine fibre optic cable have launched;
3G mobile broadband services represent the vast majority of Internet connections.

Estimated market penetration rates in Ghana’s telecoms sector – end-2012
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 97%
Fixed | 1%
Internet | 36%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)


1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview of Ghana’s telecom market
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Regulatory authority
3.1.1 National Communications Authority (NCA)
3.2 West African common regulatory framework 2005
3.3 New competition framework 2006
3.4 Electronic Communications Bill
3.5 Electronic Transaction Bill
3.6 Universal service
3.6.1 The eCARE project
3.7 Telecom sector liberalisation
3.8 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
3.9 Fixed-line licence conditions
4. Fixed Network Market
5. Major Operators
5.1 Ghana Telecom (Vodafone)
5.1.1 First privatisation 1997-2007
5.1.2 The Telenor period, 2003-2005
5.1.3 Second privatisation 2008
5.1.4 Services
5.1.5 Tariffs
5.1.6 Network infrastructure
5.1.7 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.1.8 National fibre backbone
5.2 Bharti Airtel (Zain, Westel)
5.2.1 Nationalisation 2006
5.2.2 Re-privatisation 2007
5.3 Capital Telecom Ltd (defunct)
6. Telecommunications Infrastructure
6.1 Public payphones
6.2 Fibre backbone infrastructure
6.3 International infrastructure
6.4 Submarine fibre optic cables
6.4.1 SAT-3/WASC
6.4.2 Glo-1
6.4.3 Main One
6.4.4 WACS
7. Internet Market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 PC penetration, Affordable computer programs
7.3 Public Internet access locations
7.3.1 Shared access centres
7.3.2 Mobile Telecentre To-Go
7.4 Dial-up
7.5 ISP market
7.5.1 Major ISPs
7.5.2 Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA)
7.5.3 Ghana Internet Exchange Point (GIX)
7.6 VoIP telephony
8. Broadband Market
8.1 Overview
8.2 Broadband statistics
8.3 ADSL
8.4 Wireless broadband
8.4.1 iBurst
8.4.2 WiMAX
8.4.3 WiFi
8.4.4 EV-DO
8.5 Powerline Communication (PLC)
8.6 Internet via satellite
8.7 International bandwidth
8.7.1 SAT-3/WASC submarine fibre
8.7.2 Other international fibre optic cables
8.7.3 O3b
8.8 Domestic backbone network infrastructure
8.8.1 Ghana National Public Data Network (DataNet)
8.8.2 GT FastNet
8.8.3 VoltaCom
8.8.4 Internet Solutions (IS)
8.8.5 Phase3 Telecom
8.8.6 Electronic Data Interchange
8.8.7 VSAT networks
9. Digital Media
9.1 Broadband TV (IPTV)
9.2 E-commerce
9.3 E-government, e-Ghana project
9.4 E-learning
10. Mobile Communications
10.1 Overview of Ghana’s mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Regulatory issues
10.2.1 Licensing
10.2.2 Tariffs
10.2.3 Interconnect
10.2.4 Taxation
10.2.5 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
10.2.6 Infrastructure sharing
10.2.7 Registration of subscriber details
10.3 Major mobile operators
10.3.1 Vodafone (Ghana Telecom, OneTouch)
10.3.2 MTN Ghana (formerly ScanCom, Spacefon Areeba)
10.3.3 Tigo (Millicom Ghana, Mobitel)
10.3.4 Expresso (Kasapa)
10.3.5 Bharti Airtel (Zain/Celtel, Westel)
10.3.6 Glo Mobile
10.4 Average revenue per user (ARPU)
10.5 Mobile data services
10.5.1 SMS
10.5.2 GPRS, EDGE, WAP
10.5.3 BlackBerry
10.5.4 Mobile TV
10.6 Third generation (3G)
10.6.1 Mobile broadband
10.7 Mobile content and applications
10.7.1 Mobile money transfer
10.8 Local handset manufacturing
10.9 Satellite mobile
11. Forecasts
11.1 Forecast – mobile market 2014; 2017
12. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables, Charts and Exhibits
Table 1 – Country statistics – 2012
Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2012
Table 8 – Vodafone Ghana prepaid fixed-line tariffs – July 2012
Table 9 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2000 - 2012
Table 10 – Fixed-line Internet subscribers – 2005 - 2011
Table 11 – DSL, mobile broadband and dial-up subscribers – 2005 - 2011
Table 12 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2012
Table 13 – Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change – May 2012
Table 14 – MTN Ghana ARPU – 2002 - 2012
Table 15 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2014; 2017
Chart 1 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2012
Chart 2 - Internet users and penetration rate – 1999 - 2012
Chart 3 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999-2012
Exhibit 1 – SMS as a weapon against drug counterfeiting

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