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05.03.2009 Business & Finance

More than 11 million Ghanaians now use mobile phones

By gna

Ghana's total fixed and mobile subscription in 2008 stood at 10,522,240, the 2009 Government's budget statement presented to parliament on Thursday indicated.

Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who presented the budget, said the mobile subscription alone in 2008 rose from 383,000 in 2002 to 10,242,916, whilst total fixed line saw a drop from 389,483 to 279,324.

The reason in the fixed line drop has been attributed to the removal of dormant subscribers from the GT fixed line network.

Dr Duffuor said the growth in the mobile subscription was the result of the creation of an enabling environment and the positive sustenance of competition in the sector.

He said to further liberalise the telecom sector and improve fair competition, the National Communications Authority (NCA) in 2008 auctioned a sixth mobile license on a competitive basis to Glo Mobile, a Nigerian mobile company.

“It is expected that this would provide competition and value added services for the benefit of the ordinary citizens and consumers,” the Minister said.

Dr Duffuor said to ensure quality of service during the year the NCA intensified its monitoring activities and instituted appropriate penalties to defaulting operators to serve as deterrent.

He added that the NCA had also set out clear compliance guidelines and inter-connection tariffs between fixed and mobile networks.

Dr Duffuor said to achieve good telecommunications infrastructure,

technology use and innovation, government must establish an environment

where the private sector, based on market forces could exert its

full investment potentials in the sector.
This, he said, was the reason for which the past government divested 70 per cent of government shares in Ghana Telecom and 75 per cent in WESTEL.

The year 2008, he said, saw the issuance of Ultra High Frequencies (UHF) to existing television broadcasting stations for the implementation of the digital broadcasting migration.

Dr Duffuor said to promote a wider penetration of ICT services,

The Ministry of Communications facilitated the transformation of Voltacom's Fibre Optic assets into a National Communications Backbone Infrastructure network to provide open access broadband connectivity nationwide.

In addition, he said, 39 Common Telecom Facilities were completed which enabled telecom operators to extend their services to about 273 communities under the Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunication development (GIFTEL).

Dr Duffuor said in pursuance of the promotion of an all-inclusive information and knowledge society to benefit the underserved and rural areas, government constructed 90 Community Information Centres (CICs) nationwide.

About 38 of these were provided with connectivity and equipment and another 35 are at various stages of construction.

GNA

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