Africa > West Africa > Ghana > Ghana Communication Sector Profile

Ghana: Ghana Communication Sector Profile

2015/03/22

 Young men surfing the web in an internet café,Accra,Ghana

Imminent LTE launch to strengthen the fast-developing mobile broadband segment

Ghana was one of the pioneering nations in Africa for liberalising and deregulating its telecoms sector. The privatisation of Ghana Telecom in 1996 was the catalyst for an extraordinary increase in market competition across the mobile, internet and fixed-line segments. Vodafone took over Ghana Telecom in 2008, while the second national operator Westel was became a member of the Zain Group, one of Africa’s leading mobile operators which was in turn taken over by Bharti Airtel in 2010.

The landing of additional submarine fibre optic cables in recent years dramatically increased international bandwidth. This has had a knock-on result on consumer pricing. IT Sparkle has as well built an IP hub in Accra, channelling additional traffic locally than through European hubs. Improved international connectivity, combined with the continuing roll-out of national fibre backbone networks by a number of players (and part funded by government programs) is continuing to revolutionise the country’s broadband market, and pave the way for the convergence of technologies and services.

Ghana was part the initial nations in the region to connect to the internet and to introduce DSL services. The sector is highly competitive, with a large number of ISPs licensed although a few players alone control most of the market. Most increase is in wireless and mobile broadband, which account for the vast majority of connections.

The vibrant mobile market has six competing operators, inclunding the regional heavyweights MTN, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Millicom. While the voice market is saturated, there is enormous increase potential for mobile data services, and so operators have concentrated investments in broadening their HSPA and LTE footprints.

Key developments:

Fifth international submarine fibre optic cable launched; Ghana Data Communication Technology Council set up to guide the ICT sector; fibre optic backbone network in the Eastern Corridor opens; WHO-sponsored eHealth system developments; bandwidth cost plummets to a tenth of the price in 2007; mobile operators ordered to repeat SIM card registration following widespread use of fake IDs during the process; Thuraya to provide mobile satellite services for Airtel Ghana; regulator’s fines on MNOs for QoS issues stimulate additional investments; mobile broadband services representing majority of internet connections; areas; regulator’s market data to May 2014; telcos’ operating data to Q2 2014; market developments into 2014.

Internet and Broadband Market

Ghana was part the initial nations in Africa connected to the internet and to introduce ADSL services. The sector is highly competitive, with additional than 140 licensed ISPs though the market is dominated by only a few players. Internet user increase was for a lot of years held back by the poor national of the national fixed-line network and by the high cost of connectivity. However, following the introduction of wireless and 3G mobile and wireless broadband technologies such as HSPA, WiMAX and iBurst, the sector has in recent years developed rapidly. In addition, the arrival of a further two international fibre links in 2012 and 2013 dramatically brought down pricing for international bandwidth, and these lower costs have been passed on to consumers. The re-privatised national carrier, Ghana Telecom, under the Vodafone banner, is as well additional effective in driving the broadband market by expanding its retail and wholesale offerings.


Key developments:

Fifth international submarine fibre optic cable comes on stream; WHO-sponsored eHealth system developments; fibre network for Eastern Corridor completed; bandwidth cost plummets to a tenth of the price in 2007; regulator’s market data to May 2014; market developments into 2014.

Regulatory and Telecom Market Insights

In liberalising and deregulating its telecommunications sector, Ghana proved to be one of the pioneering nations within African. The privatisation of Ghana Telecom (GT) in 1996 was the catalyst for an extraordinary increase in market competition across the mobile, internet and fixed-line sectors. Following the exit of the initial investor in GT, the company was re-privatised to Vodafone in 2008. The second national operator, Westel, was as well re-privatised, in 2007, becoming a member of the Zain Group, one of Africa’s leading mobile operators. The Group was taken over by Bharti Airtel of India in 2010. The arrival of an additional two new international submarine fibre optic cables in 2012 and 2013 has significantly increased international bandwidth, and has added considerable competition to a sector before dominated by GT through its interest in the SAT-3/WASC cable. Augmented international connectivity combined with the roll out of national fibre backbone networks by a number of players is continuing to revolutionise the country’s broadband market and pave the way for the convergence of technologies and services.

Mobile Market - Insights

Since launching the initial cellular mobile network in sub-Saharan Africa in 1992, Ghana has developed one of the continent’s most vibrant mobile markets, with six competing operators inclunding regional heavyweights such as MTN, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain) and Millicom (Tigo). The entry of Nigeria’s Globacom as the sixth player in 2012 has delivered an extra boost to the sector. Subscriber increase, however, has come at the expense of lower Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). While the voice market is saturated, there is enormous increase potential in both subscriber and ARPU for mobile broadband services. Mobile broadband by presently accounts for the vast majority of internet connections in the country.

Internet country code: 

.gh

Communications note: