NCA: mobile penetration topped 98% in January

19 Mar 2009

Cellular penetration reached 98% in January 2009, according to data reportedly published by the telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA). According to the Ghanaian Chronicle, the watchdog counted more than 11.962 million active mobile phone subscriptions in Ghana in January, up from around 10.242 million the previous month, vastly outstripping main lines in service which stood at 140,676 at the same date, it said. Ghana’s fixed line user base has been in steady decline for several years. The number of main lines in service stood at 279,234 at the start of 2008, down from a high of 389,493 in 2002.

The NCA’s data shows that MTN Ghana led the mobile market by a fair margin at the start of this year with 6.592 million customers, a market share of 55.1%, ahead of Millicom Ghana’s Tigo unit which had close to 2.786 million users. Meanwhile, third placed operator GT-OneTouch, the mobile arm of national PTO Ghana Telecom, had amassed 1.733 million mobile users, equivalent to a market share of 14.5%. More surprisingly perhaps, market newcomer Zain Ghana, which launched commercial services in December 2008, leapfrogged Kasapa in its first two months of operation, signing up 463,824 subscribers (3.9% of the market) by dint of its pre-registration and ‘You Pay Zain Pays’ 100% credit back promotions, compared with Kasapa’s 386,732 subscribers (3.2%). Local industry watchers note however, that Zain’s sudden growth did not come at the expense of the established cellcos, indicating that some its users could be keeping their old subscriptions to other network providers.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database reports that competition in the Ghanaian mobile market looks set to intensify still further if Globacom Telecommunication Services (Glo Mobile), launches operations in the country as planned in June this year.