Ghana to increase 4G penetration by 65%, plans to build 4,400 4G and 5G sites in three years

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June 5, 2024
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2 min read
telecoms
  • Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana's Minister of Communications and Digitalization, has revealed that the country plans to increase 4G penetration from 15% to 80% over the next three years through Next-Gen InfraCos (NGIC). 
  • The government also intends to establish 4,400 4G and 5G telecommunications sites to improve the country's high-speed connectivity.
  • According to the Minister, “Despite launching 4G in Ghana 9 years ago, the current 4G penetration rate is 15%, with the majority of the population using 3G networks.”

The NGIC is a new shared infrastructure company that has received a ten-year licence to provide 5G services in Ghana. 

The company is 55% owned by two African telecom companies, Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET, while the Ghanaian government owns 10%, with the rest held by local mobile operators and private investors.

The NGIC initiative aims to accelerate the widespread adoption of next-generation technologies. Owusu-Ekuful acknowledged that achieving this could help the country reach its goal of universal broadband access and a fully digital economy by 2030.

In May 2024, the Ghanaian government, in partnership with Radisys Corporation, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited owned by Mukesh Amban — Asia's richest man — revealed plans to launch affordable 5G mobile broadband services nationwide by the end of 2024 via the Next-Gen Infrastructure Company (NGIC).

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Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ghana's social democratic political party, issued a statement claiming that the partnership with Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani is a bad deal.  

They emphasised that the country could have raised more funds if a formal bidding process had been used instead of an exclusive deal. 

The decision to use a shared neutral network for 5G rather than auctions stems from the delay in expanding the 4G network throughout Ghana. This aims to ensure that rural areas benefit from high-speed internet, which is often overlooked due to its lower profit potential.

According to the National Communications Authority (NCA), as of the third quarter of 2023, Ghana had 22.29 million mobile Internet subscribers with a penetration rate of 69.1%.


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