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Ghana to get 5G within six months

5g Network

A new partnership between the public and private sectors aims to provide affordable 5G mobile broadband services across Ghana within six months, representing a significant advancement in the country’s digital infrastructure. The Government of Ghana, Ascend Digital, K-NET, Radisys (owned by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani), Nokia, and Tech Mahindra, along with local Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) AT Ghana and Telecel Ghana, have joined forces to create Next-Gen InfraCo (NGIC).

Two African telecoms firms — Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET — hold a combined stake of 55% in the new company, said Singh. The Ghana government will own just under 10% of NGIC, while local mobile operators and private investors will retain the remaining shares in the firm.

NGIC, which has been awarded Ghana’s first 5G license, will build and operate a nationwide 4G/5G network. This shared infrastructure will support mobile network operators in launching affordable 4G/5G-enabled Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) CPEs and smartphones, enhancing digital services in education, healthcare, and financial transactions.

In a statement issued by Radisys, the Minister for Communications and Digitalization Ursula Owusu-Ekuful emphasized the importance of this initiative for Ghana’s digital transformation. “The creation of NGIC as a neutral, shared platform accessible to all mobile network operators will help to expand 5G services rapidly across the country. We are inspired by India’s digital infrastructure and low-cost mobile data model and are keen to replicate it in Ghana,” she said.

The CEO of AT Ghana, Leo Skarlatos and the COO of Telecel Ghana, Mohamad Ghaddar both expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, emphasizing the potential to enhance connectivity, coverage, and innovative services for their customers.

Mr. Ghaddar said: “Telecel encourages initiatives like NGIC’s neutral and ‘Network as a Service’ model, which will help create diverse network options for all telecom operators in Ghana. We are looking forward to the implementation of the NGIC model with the right partners, which will enable us to leverage their infrastructure to deliver enhanced connectivity, better coverage, and innovative services to our services.”

Mr. Skarlatos said: “This partnership will enable us to leverage a neutral, shared platform and scale up our services across Ghana. We are confident that our customers will experience the enhanced network quality and affordable services that they deserve. We look forward to working with NGIC and the MOCD, to contribute to the country’s digital transformation agenda.”

The CEO of Ascend Digital and Executive Director of NGIC, Harkirit Singh, stated, “NGIC intends to launch its wholesale 4G/5G Network as a Service within the next six months. With the proven strengths of our partners—Radisys, Nokia, and Tech Mahindra—we aim to deliver affordable mobile broadband services to all Ghanaians and eventually expand to other parts of Africa.”

The Senior Vice President for the Middle East and Africa at Nokia, Mikko Lavanti, noted, “Ghana holds immense potential for mobile broadband growth. Establishing an Open Access Network like NGIC will foster innovation and create numerous opportunities across various sectors. We are proud to help Ghana realize its digital vision and unlock its full potential.”

The CEO of Radisys, Arun Bhikshesvaran added, “Connectivity for all, through open and disaggregated multi-access solutions, is a key component of our initiatives to bridge the digital divide. We look forward to helping NGIC build a disruptive and affordable shared broadband infrastructure across Ghana.”

The Chief Technology Officer at Tech Mahindra, Manish Mangal, highlighted their role in building a Cloud Native Core Network. “Our partnership with NGIC is based on a shared vision for digital connectivity and providing Network-as-a-Service to innovate and bring cost efficiency to the telecom market in Ghana and Africa.” Ghana currently has three main telecommunications operators: MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana (who both provide 4G services) and state-owned AirtelTigo (which has a 3.5G network).

The collaboration aims to leverage India’s successful model of affordable handsets, digital platforms, and localized content and applications to bring similar high-speed mobile data services to Ghana. This initiative is expected to significantly reduce the digital divide and promote financial inclusion.

By: Kweku Zurek

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