The Chief Executive of MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Asante has predicted the consolidation of telcos in Ghana and even consolidation of telcos and 4G LTE players in the country within the next few years.
This he believes the market is too small to sustain these many players, saying “I expect takeovers and mergers to take place” within the shortest possible time.
Mr Asante made this prediction at the MTN Ghana Media and stakeholders’ Forum held in Accra today.
Ghana with a population of 27 million people has six voice/data operators – namely MTN, Vodafone, Airtel, Tigo, Glo, and Expresso for the small market. While the licensed 4G LTE operators are-Surfline, Blu, and Busy but Goldkey which has deployed equipment but not yet started commercial operations in the West African country.
Mr Asante revealed that MTN Ghana which recently acquired a 4G LTE licence would launch commercial operation in the middle of this year to provide customers with faster data speed.
To end, MTN Ghana has already started test-runs for the successful commercial roll out of the 4G LTE after paying amount $67.5million to th National Communications Authority (NCA) for the license.
As of to date about 69 sites for the 4G LTE are operational. Out of these, 27, 23, 8, and 9 of them are located in the Greater Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi, and Tarkwa and Obuasi respectively.
While the mobile company is expected to deploy the sites in the Central, Volta, Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions in the course of this year.
Mr Asante was quick to enumerate the benefits of the 4G LTE to the Ghanaian economy, saying it will lead to the creation of new services, mobile commerce (mobile banking), new revenue streams for government, new jobs for the youth, and increased business productivity and efficiency leading to improved margins.
The other benefits of the LTE on innovative services and social impacts, he mentioned include- surveillance and live traffic reports, location based services, Mobile TV/VOD, improved communication and access to information within the shortest possible time, improved networking across communities, institutions and agencies, and enhanced entertainment (music, video, streaming, downloads and uploads).
Instructively, MTN Ghana was awarded one of two LTE 800MHz lots auctioned by NCA in December 2, 2015 to deploy 4G LTE services in the West African country.
The 4G or LTE which is the Fourth Generation or Long Term Evolution (LTE), is the next stage in mobile network development and provides users with much faster data speeds than 3G is able to.