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18.05.2007 Business & Finance

Ghana achieves 27% telephone penetration in first quarter

By Ayuure Kapini Atafori

Ghana has achieved 27 percent telephone penetration, representing 5,736,273 subscriptions, in the first quarter of this year as a result of Government's efforts to ensure the widespread deployment and application of Information Communications Technologies in the country.

At the end of 2006, the country attained a telephone penetration of 25 percent which represents 5,595,942 total subscriptions.

This was made known by Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, Deputy Minister of Communications, in a speech delivered at a flag-raising ceremony in Accra to mark International Telecommunications Union World Telecommunications/Information Day yesterday.

The first commemorative event of the ITU was held under the theme "Connecting the Young: the Opportunities of ICT." In 2006, the Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU adopted May 17 as World Communications and Information day to promote the development and active use of ICT in member states.

"As competition takes root and with the arrival of new companies in the telecommunications sector, we are certain to reach a penetration level of 50 percent by 2010 and thereby exceed the target of the World summit on the Information Society three-fold, well ahead of the 2015 deadline," Dr Aggrey Ntim told the gathering.

He said the construction of the national communications fibre-optic backbone project has been started by Huawei Technologies Company Limited and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. When completed, he stated, the project would enhance the provision of communication services and support e-governance applications nationwide.

He noted that to ensure the maximum utilisation of ICT in the country, Government "is vigorously pursuing the massive roll-out of adequate ICT infrastructure to provide opportunities in education, health, agriculture, commerce, and governance."

The Deputy Minister said it was in appreciating the enormous potentials of the youth that Government had established the Ghana Multi-media Incubator Centre to promote opportunities for the incubation of ideas, concepts and software development. He added that the centre also offers training in skills for business process outsourcing with a mentoring programme.

He said with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and support from the HIPC funds, the Communications Ministry has constructed 72 community Information Centres, with the intention of building one in each of the 230 constituencies in the country.

The Acting Director-General of the National Communications Authority, Major (Rtd) T R K Tandoh, said in the increasingly competitive and complex ICT environment, regulators like the NCA are expected to be futuristic in fashioning out a roadmap and directions in order to stay ahead and navigate uncharted waters.

"Since telecommunications infrastructure forms the platform for IT development, the NCA in accordance with the National Telecom Policy have put in place transparent regulatory measures that are investor friendly to ensure the availability of basic telephony and internet services to remotest parts of the country."

Major (Rtd) Tandoh read a special message on behalf of the ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure, while the UNDP Representative, Dauda Toure read a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The two pledged their commitment to helping ensure the youth have greater access to ICT, and called on governments across the world to help achieve the laudable objective.

… GT mounts exhibition to mark Day

Ghana Telecommunication Limited yesterday mounted an exhibition to join the world to celebrate the global telecommunication day. The event was aimed at congratulating GT customers for being committed to the company over the past 10 years and helping to sustain and promote its growth, Adu Koranteng reports.

The Human Resource Director of GT E-Care, Stella Appiah Nkansah in an interview with The Statesman noted that GT has contributed tremendously towards the expansion of the telecom industry in Ghana since it was hived off from Ghana Post 10 years ago.

"It has helped to facilitate research among students through its reliable and modern technologies. It has also made strides in helping to improve communication and information dissemination in all the rural communities in Ghana."

According to her, GT has more than held its own in the competitive telecoms market with "competent, efficient and reliable staff" and products, in spite of the challenges.

"We continue to orientate and train our staff, improve on our customer relationship on a daily basis and introduce new products to keep our customers and further attract more clients." She said the purpose of the exhibition was to give existing and potential customers a greater insight about GT"s products and plans for the future.

Products exhibited at the event included mobile telephone broad band internet, Eazy phone, and pre-paid products for users of its fixed network. It also exhibited the latest product, E-CARE which is introduced to offer affordable telecommunications and clean energy services in rural and peri-urban communities.