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12.08.2009 Business & Finance

Telecom Firms Make $5 Per Subscriber

By Daily Guide
Brett Goschen - CEO of MTN, GhanaBrett Goschen - CEO of MTN, Ghana
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Telecom operators make average revenue per user (ARPU) of $5 a month, according to statistics on the earnings of telecom operators in the country.

According to first quarter report for 2009 on Telecom Operators, the National Communications Authority (NCA) revealed that the market leader, MTN made an average of $8.00 a month per customer, while Zain and Tigo made $3.00 and $5.3 respectively, with Kasapa roping in $4.7.

The report showed that currently an estimated 55 percent of Ghanaians owned personal mobile phone numbers, which was up from 22 percent in December 2006, 33 percent in 2007 and 50 percent in 2008; with the figure expected to reach 85 percent in 2013.

The report revealed that the impact of mobile telecom on the economy was similar to the other enabling infrastructure such as roads, ports, airports and railways, adding that recent analysis by Deloitte showed that 10 percent mobile penetration led to a 1.2 percent increase in annual GDP.

Deloitte further noted that the enabling infrastructure stimulated trade, created wealth and enhanced social welfare, but the mobile communication in particular provides banking to the unbanked, reaches rural areas with modern communications, encourages entrepreneurship and facilitates social contact among families and friends.

Additionally, it increases productivity by improving the business operations and also provides continuing employment and income generation for large numbers of the population.

MTN, for instance, recently announced that it had so far provided 120,000 jobs; generating income to support about 500,000 people outside of its core business in Ghana.

As at March 2009, MTN recorded 54 percent of the telecom market share (6.8 million subscribers), Tigo placed second with 23 percent (2.9 million subscribers) followed by Vodafone with 13 percent (1.65 million subscribers) Zain placed 4th with 7 percent (890,000 subscribers) and Kasapa recorded 3 per cent (almost 400,000 subscribers).

However, the figures are expected to change when the NCA releases the first half of the subscription rate at the end of the month.

Brett Goschen, Chief Executive of MTN, revealed that mobile communication would continue to be the primary means for majority of the population to access voice, data, and internet service, projecting that subscribers would be demanding more of technologies that meet their needs in making a choice of network.

According to him, though Ghana was the first to launch internet in West Africa in 1993, there were still less than 800,000 internet users in the country, placing Ghana 28th out of 56 countries in Africa in terms of internet penetration.

Mr. Goschen mentioned that the challenge for mobile telecom operators was to focus more on services and technologies that provided customers with an all-in-one affordable voice, data and internet access, preferably, on the voice over internet portfolio (VOIP).

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