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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ghanaians yearn for Glo’s roll-out

•Plan 6-hr switch off protest tomorrow

Telecommunications subscribers and stakeholders in Ghana are yearning for the services of the Nigeria’s second national operator, Globacom, which obtained operational license in the country since 2008.

This is coming as Ghanaian subscribers are now warming up for a six-hour switch off of mobile phones to protest poor quality of service (QoS) tomorrow, countrywide, just as operators would lose an estimated $6 million, about N909m, owing to the demonstration.

Presently, out of the Nigeria-based three mobile telecom operators in the country that have licenses in Ghana, namely Glo, MTN, and Zain only Glo has not launched commercial services.

Some Ghanaian telecom stakeholders who spoke to ITRealms Online at the weekend in the city of Accra said that they are over-yearning for Globacom’s time to roll-out services.

They also acknowledged the fact that Glo 1 submarine cable landed in Accra, but wondered why the telecom operator has not deemed it fit to roll-out officially its services to benefit Ghana’s economy.

They expressed reservation over the delay in rolling out services by Globacom, close to two years after it obtained operational GSM license.

For a lady described as Ms Kathryn, who runs a travel agency, “As you can see, Glo symbols seem to be everywhere, mostly at the airport, but the company is yet to roll out.”

She pointed that Glo even has a very elaborate office bloc in the city, in addition to the cable that landed last year, yet, there is no service attached to it, as far as Ghanaians telecom consumers are concerned.

Another Ghanaian, a cab driver, Kwame, told ITRealms Online that every day they look forward to official roll-out of commercial services by Globacom, noting that long ago Globacom has decorated Kotoka International Airport, but to no avail as no one knows what exactly could be the company’s plans or problems.

“We are daily expecting to see their service and we are getting tired,” he declared, noting though that Glo service may not be very different from what is obtained now, but it could increase competition and then better services.

ITRealms Online recalls that during the week ending July 19, 2008, the National Communication Authority (NCA) of Ghana handed over a Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) to the management of Globacom led by its Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mohamed Jameel.

Speaking then at the brief ceremony at NCA headquarters in Accra, its Chairman, Mr. Jude Kofi Arthur, expressed optimism that the telecom giant would deliver on innovative products and urged the mobile company to always consider all stakeholders in the industry including the government, fellow operators, the regulator and the public in all its endeavours.

“On behalf of the government of Ghana and the NCA, I present to Glo, the license to operate mobile cellular service in Ghana. This is the end of the licensing process but the beginning of the relationship with Glo,” Arthur said.

Reacting, Mr. Jameel had expressed gratitude to the government and people of Ghana, and particularly the NCA, for having confidence in Glo Mobile’s ability to operate quality cellular mobile service. Just as he promised Globacom would not let them down.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned in our bid to provide world class and innovative
telecommunication service for the people. We thank you for the transparent international bidding process,” he said.

Restating that Glo would not hesitate in its determination to execute the vision of the board to build Africa’s biggest and best telecommunication network, assuring that Glo “shall be a disciplined operator and we need the support of NCA.”

According to Jameel, Glo would cooperate with all the other operators, saying that the firm is challenged by the confidence the NCA and the public have reposed on them based on its continental pedigree.

“We wish to assure you that we shall, with your collective support and goodwill, meet your expectation and yearning for quality and affordable telecoms products and services,” he said.

He assured that based on the antecedent of Glo Mobile, both in Nigeria and Benin Republic, the network would deploy robust telecommunication infrastructure and services in Ghana with the government and people as the biggest beneficiaries.

By securing the GSM license in Ghana, Glo became the sixth mobile operator to be licensed in that country.

Although anticipation was that by April 2009, that is, over a year ago, the Ghana operation of Glo Mobile should have gone commercial.

Efforts to reach Glo’s spokesman, Mr. Bode Opesietan, was not successful as he could not respond to either calls, text message and email sent to him as at press time.

But a source close to Globacom, however, informed ITRealms Online that there are some issues challenges causing the delay, including getting permissions for right of way for erection of its masts and vandalization of infrastructure already on ground.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) of Ghana has announced its resolve to protest against all the telecommunications operators in the country over poor quality of service.

The protest being spearheaded by CPA has been scheduled to hold tomorrow, Thursday, May 27, this year, according to public announcement on the Ghana TV3 and Ghana News Agency (GNA), at the weekend.

The announcement quoted the Chief Executive Officer, CPA, Mr. Kofi Kapito as saying that the demonstration would also present a petition to the Minister of Communications, to express the discontentment of Ghanaians over the poor quality of services provided by telecom operators.

“The CPA is calling on Ghanaians to switch off their mobile phones from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on May 27 as a protest to signal to the telecommunication companies that without consumers, they do not exist,” part of the statement read.

Further, it said that the ‘six-hour phone off’ protest, would cost the telecommunication companies about six million dollars which would enable them to respect the right of consumers.

Additionally, CPA said the physical demonstration would start from Kwame Nkumah Circle at 9 am and end at 2pm, through High Street, to Rawlings Park, Kojo Thompson road, Kinbu Lane to Ministry of Communications, and proceed through Osu and end at Danquah Circle after a press conference, even as the agency urged all telecom consumer in Ghana to heed the call.

“We invite all consumers to join the demonstration” part of the press statement read.

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