According to figures published by Ghana’s telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA), fixed and mobile penetration in the country reached 75.4% at the end of last year, up from around 71% at the start of 2010. The watchdog’s figures show that the primary driver of growth is mobile usage: the cellular penetration rate stood at 74.2% at the same date, with more than 17.436 million registered SIM cards. Mobile growth in the second half of last year came despite a compulsory SIM registration scheme, which entered into effect on 1 July, and which was expected to dampen growth for the year, compared with 2009. The scheme is also expected to have pruned out a number of inactive and/or unregistered mobile users.
At the end of last year the NCA’s figures show that MTN Ghana led the mobile segment with 8.721 million SIMs, ahead of Tigo with 3.999 million (although TeleGeography estimates that around 400,000 of these are inactive), and third-placed Vodafone (Ghana) with 2.722 million. Of the three other licensed cellcos, Airtel, which has recently been rebranded from Zain, had 1.754 million subscribers, Expresso (formerly Kasapa) had 239,815 and Glo Mobile is yet to launch operations. Meanwhile, the two companies offering landline or fixed network services noted a significant drop in customers last year. Vodafone (formerly Ghana Telecom) reported 267,033 main lines in service at the end of 2010, down from around 284,000 at the start of the year, while Airtel had 10,864 lines, up around 8,000 year-on-year.