MTN to invest US$1-bn in Ghana as data, mobile money grows
MTN will invest over US$1-billion into telecommunication infrastructure in Ghana over the next five years, the company said on Tuesday.
It added that it would interconnect with rival operators in the West African nation for roaming and airtime distribution.
Interconnection has been a key theme across many African markets and considered a solution for poorly serviced areas that would benefit from infrastructure sharing and cross connections of platforms and systems between operators.
“Beyond the opening of its systems and digital channels for the distribution of other operators airtime, MTN is pleased to announce that it is in advanced stages of an agreement to implement a national roaming plan in partnership with other operators,” MTN Ghana stated.
A further agreement with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) is also expected to deepen the government-spearheaded “rural telephony project to extend communications to most rural” communities.
Under these drives and agreements, MTN will be able to “share its infrastructure with other telecommunication operators in Ghana and vice versa, in order to increase the efficiency of infrastructure spend (and) expand quality telecom coverage” and accelerate further development of the sector.
“To ensure the success of these commitments, we project an investment of over US$1.05-billion in infrastructure and information systems over five years, starting from 2021, to support the vision of a digital Ghana,” the company added.
During the year period to the end of December, MTN increased the number of mobile subscribers in Ghana by 3.9% to 25.4 million. Of this, active data subscribers also went up by 15.3% to 12.4 million, while its active Mobile Money (MoMo) users increased by 3.8% to 11.0 million.
The growth in subscriber numbers helped to support voice revenue by 4.9% on a year-on-year basis although this was a slowdown from previous periods. The slowdown in growth of voice revenue has been attributed to “the shift in customer behaviour towards data” services.
Its mobile money operation recorded growth in service offerings under retail merchant payments, micro loans, insurance, and international remittances which supported an increase in Mobile Money revenue by 38.2%. The mobile money sector in Ghana is however faced with a 1.75% electronic payments tax.
MTN has now provisioned for a 25% reduction in person-to-person transfer charges as a way of cushioning users from the expected rise in charges from the new tax.