Ghana - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Ghana’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).

Researcher: Henry Lancaster
Current publication date: March 2018 (17th Edition)

Executive Summary

Ghana planning to replace 2G licenses with unified access licenses in 2019

Ghana was one of the first countries in Africa to liberalise and deregulate its telecommunications sector. Following the privatisation of Ghana Telecom in 1996 there was very rapid growth in market competition across the mobile and internet sectors, with a number of new players being licensed to offer services. Ghana Telecom was acquired by the Vodafone Group in 2009 and rebranded as Vodafone Ghana. It is the principal fixed-line provider and also the third largest player in the mobile services sector, after MTN and AirtelTigo, formed from the merger of Airtel Ghana and Tigo Ghana. The second national operator, Westel, was also re-privatised, in 2007, ultimately becoming Airtel Ghana.

There are a number of submarine fibre cables landing in the country, which have significantly increased international bandwidth and led to a dramatic reduction in the cost of broadband access. These developments, combined with the roll out of national fibre backbone networks by a number of players, are continuing to revolutionise the country’s broadband market and pave the way for the convergence of technologies and services. This has been indicated by the regulator’s intention to replace 2G licences expiring in 2019 with universal access licences, enabling licensees to offer both fixed and mobile offers.

Ghana has one of the most vibrant mobile markets in Africa, with competing operators including the regional heavyweights MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana and AirtelTigo. Although subscriber growth has remained strong in recent years, with the exception of a dip in 2017 resulting from a redefinition of active subscribers from one of the operators, competition has resulted in lower Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and pressure on revenue. Nevertheless, there is enormous potential in mobile broadband services, both in terms of subscriber additions and in mobile data ARPU. Mobile internet connections already account for the vast majority of all internet accesses in the country. The launch of LTE services by MTN Ghana in mid-2016 has added to the vibrancy of this sector, and although the other providers have held back from securing LTE licences, claiming that the cost is too high, the regulator has encouraged them to refarm 2G spectrum for 3G use in a bid to improve internet access in rural and remote areas.

The internet market is highly competitive, with a large number of ISPs, though most subscribers are customers of only a few operators. While subscriber growth in the sector was for many years held back by the poor condition of the national fixed-line network and by the high cost of connectivity, the situation improved following the introduction of fixed-wireless and mobile broadband technologies and the vastly increased international bandwidth available. The government has also invested in building extensive fibre infrastructure in the Eastern and Western Corridors.

Key developments:

  • Regulator to replace 2G licenses with unified access licenses in 2019;
  • Tigo Ghana and Airtel Ghana complete merger;
  • MTN Ghana secures one of two blocks of spectrum in the 800MHz band, expands the reach of LTE services;
  • Expresso sold to Kludjeson International;
  • Surfline Communications and Blu Telecoms launch LTE services;
  • Regulator’s fines on MNOs for QoS issues stimulate additional investments;
  • Government planning launch of the Ghanasat 1 satellite in 2020;
  • Government sets up Smart Communities Project;
  • Vodafone expands FttP-based broadband services;
  • Fibre network for Eastern Corridor completed;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to September 2017, telcos’ operating data to Q4 2017, recent market developments

Companies mentioned in this report:

Vodafone Ghana (Ghana Telecom, OneTouch), Airtel Ghana (Zain/Celtel, Westel), Capital Telecom, Main One, VoltaCom, Phase3 Telecom, Suburban Telecom, AirtelTigo (Tigo Ghana, Airtel Ghana), MTN Ghana, Expresso Telecom (Sudatel, Kasapa), Globacom (Glo Mobile), Thuraya, Network Computer Systems (NCS), InternetGhana, Africa Online, Busy Internet, Linkserve, IDN, Infinite Stream Ghana, Electricity Corporation of Ghana (ECG), Cactel Communications, O3b Networks, VoltaCom, Internet Solutions.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Historical overview
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Regulatory authority
    • 3.2 West African Common Regulatory Framework 2005
    • 3.3 Competition framework 2006
    • 3.4 Electronic Communications Act
    • 3.5 Electronic Transaction Act
    • 3.6 Universal service
    • 3.7 Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunications (GIFTEL)
      • 3.7.1 The eCARE project
    • 3.8 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 3.9 Fixed-line licence conditions
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 Vodafone Ghana (formerly Ghana Telecom)
      • 4.1.1 Privatisation
      • 4.1.2 Network infrastructure
    • 4.2 Airtel Ghana (Zain, Westel)
      • 4.2.1 Nationalisation 2006
      • 4.2.2 Re-privatisation 2007
    • 4.3 Capital Telecom (defunct)
  • 5. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 Fibre backbone infrastructure
    • 5.3 Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
    • 5.4 International infrastructure
      • 5.4.1 Submarine fibre optic cables
      • 5.4.2 Satellite services
    • 5.5 Data centres
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 6.2 Broadband statistics
      • 6.2.1 Forecasts – fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • 6.3 Public Internet Access Venues (PAVs)
    • 6.4 Shared access centres
    • 6.5 Mobile Telecentre To-Go
      • 6.5.1 Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA)
      • 6.5.2 Ghana Internet Exchange Point (GIX)
    • 6.6 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • 6.7 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
    • 6.8 Other fixed broadband services
      • 6.8.1 Fixed wireless broadband
      • 6.8.2 Powerline Communication (PLC)
      • 6.8.3 Internet via satellite
      • 6.8.4 O3b
    • 6.9 Domestic backbone network infrastructure
      • 6.9.1 Ghana National Public Data Network (DataNet)
      • 6.9.2 FastNet
      • 6.9.3 VoltaCom
      • 6.9.4 Internet Solutions (IS)
      • 6.9.5 Phase3 Telecom
      • 6.9.6 Electronic Data Interchange
      • 6.9.7 VSAT networks
  • 7. Digital economy
    • 7.1 E-commerce
    • 7.2 E-government, e-Ghana project
    • 7.3 E-learning
    • 7.4 E-health
  • 8. Mobile communications
    • 8.1 Market analysis
    • 8.2 Mobile statistics
      • 8.2.1 General statistics
      • 8.2.2 Mobile broadband
      • 8.2.3 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • 8.3 Regulatory issues
      • 8.3.1 Quality of Service (QoS)
      • 8.3.2 Licensing
      • 8.3.3 Spectrum
      • 8.3.4 Roaming
      • 8.3.5 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 8.3.6 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 8.3.7 Network sharing
      • 8.3.8 Taxation
      • 8.3.9 Registration of subscriber details
    • 8.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 8.4.1 Analogue networks
      • 8.4.2 Digital networks
    • 8.5 Satellite mobile
    • 8.6 Major mobile operators
      • 8.6.1 Vodafone Ghana (Ghana Telecom, OneTouch)
      • 8.6.2 MTN Ghana (formerly ScanCom, Spacefon Areeba)
      • 8.6.3 Tigo Ghana (Millicom Ghana, Mobitel)
      • 8.6.4 Expresso
      • 8.6.5 Airtel Ghana (Zain/Celtel, Westel)
      • 8.6.6 Glo Mobile
      • 8.6.7 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • 8.6.8 M2M
    • 8.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.7.1 M-banking
      • 8.7.2 M-health
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2017
      • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2018
      • Table 4 – Internet, broadband and social media user statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
      • Table 7 – Fixed-line subscribers by operator – 2011 – 2017
      • Table 8 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 10 – International bandwidth – 2001 - 2016
      • Table 11 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 2000 - 2009
      • Table 12 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 - 2022
      • Table 13 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2018
      • Table 14 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers in Ghana – 2019; 2021; 2023
      • Table 15 – Vodafone Ghana broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 16 – DSL subscribers – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 17 – Broadband wireless access subscribers by operator – 2016 - 2017
      • Table 18 – Broadband wireless access market share by operator– 2005 - 2017
      • Table 19 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 20 – Mobile voice subscribers – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 21 – Mobile voice subscribers by operator – 2011 - 2017
      • Table 22 – Mobile voice subscriber market share by operator – 2011 - 2017
      • Table 23 – Overview of mobile network launch dates
      • Table 24 – Mobile broadband subscribers by operator – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 25 – Mobile broadband subscriber share by operator – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 26 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 27 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
      • Table 28 – LTE subscribers by operator – 2016 - 2017
      • Table 29 – Vodafone Ghana subscribers – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 30 – MTN Ghana financial data – 2011 - 2017
      • Table 31 – MTN Ghana revenue by type – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 32 – MTN Ghana mobile subscribers (regulator data) – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 33 – MTN Ghana ARPU – 2002 – 2017
      • Table 34 – Tigo Ghana mobile subscribers (regulator data) – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 35 – Tigo Ghana mobile subscribers (company data) – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 36 – Espresso Ghana mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 37 – Airtel Ghana mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 38 – Glo Mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2017
      • Chart 1 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 – 2022
      • Chart 3 - Mobile voice subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 4 – Mobile voice subscribers by operator – 2011 – 2017
      • Chart 5 – MTN Ghana financial data – 2011 – 2017
      • Exhibit 1 – SMS as a weapon against drug counterfeiting

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