Ghana is attracting the attention of the global telecommunications community as the low access rates and market potentials of the country are increasingly becoming clear.
Internet penetration is at five percent, while Africa overall is at one percent. Current internet capacity for the country is 120 gigabytes per second. A new fibre optic cable from Glo, the telecom giant, has just arrived, adding a connection capacity of 620 gigabytes. This is a five-fold increase.
By 2012, huge increases in bandwidth will arrive, with Vodafone providing 3,800 gigabytes and Main One Cable Company providing 1,900 gigabytes. Ghana is preparing to take advantage of a myriad of national and international tele-data services, and to expand into much more global communication.
The current mobile penetration rate in Ghana is 67 percent or about 12 million users. MTN, Vodafone, Kasapa, Tigo and Zain are the five telecom network operators. Globacom, of Nigeria, is expected to enter the market soon.
In order for the country to take full advantage of the huge influx of new bandwidth, there is a need build more telecom and data infrastructure. The national communication backbone has a single fibre network ring which spans from north to south around the country. This single structure does not allow for redundancy and flexibility in utilising the bandwidth. It also does not address bringing connectivity to the end user.
Ghana needs state-of-the-art managed data-centres across its regions, in order to facilitate business activities and support mission critical data and telecommunication applications. Existing data centres do not meet international standards. Internet Service Providers provide ad-hoc data centres that aspire at best to meet Tier-2 international data centre standards.
It is now critical for the country to embrace business process automation, and move away from manual, paper-based systems.
The infrastructure needs present investment opportunities in the following areas:
- 1. Last mile connectivity – to bring connectivity to the end user.
- Education Communication Network
- Government Private Network
- Ghana Ports & Harbours Communication Network
- Rural Area Networks
- Metropolitan Area Networks
- Justice Department and Police Communication Networks
- 2. Regional Data Centres – to host business and mission critical applications, e.g., National Health Service, government agency intranets, air traffic control systems, medical life support systems, etc.
- Tier-3 Data centres
- Tier-4 Data centres
- 3. Hosted Application Services
- National Health Administration Service
- Automation of manual tax collection services, e.g. toll booths, public car parks, taxi ranks, etc.
- National Payroll Service
- Driver Vehicle License Administration Service
- Lands Registry & Lands Commission administration service
- Judiciary Management and Administration Service
- 4. Value-Added Telecommunication Services
- IPTV Services
- VoIP Services
- Calling cards
- Integrated mobile TopUp service
- Wholesale International Call Termination
- Wholesale DID services
- Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)
- 5. Data and Telecom Services
- ISP operator with capacity for Voice.