Ghanaian start-up Globacom, a Nigeria-based telco with operations in Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire, has announced it will officially launch its operation in the country on 17 November 2011, three years after first receiving a licence to offer services. The company’s chief operating officer George Andah has reportedly released a statement saying the Glo Mobile unit will be supported by GLO 1, the high capacity submarine cable network commissioned in Ghana in 2009. ‘The cable will guarantee access to ultra-fast and reliable internet connectivity and will be the driving force for the business community not only in Ghana, but also in West Africa,’ the statement read. It is understood Glo Mobile is looking to develop an extensive network, with Andah claiming the launch will act as a platform to boost Ghana’s economy. ‘It will also provide the platform for robust application and customised conferencing, telemedicine, distance learning and customised services such as data centres and wireless virtual network,’ he said. The new network will hopefully support extensive 3G coverage as well as providing a range of high quality and reliable voice and data services at very competitive rates.
Globacom’s entry to the Ghanaian market has been beset with delays. Indeed, in August this year the government issued a warning to the would-be start-up to launch commercial services in the country by 15 September, or face sanctions. The ultimatum was delivered by the Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, who was quoted as saying of the newcomer’s heel-dragging: ‘it is about time we take the company on because they have the Ghanaian market space waiting for too long.’ For its part, the Nigerian-owned operation has long argued that it has faced obstacles to its entry into the market. In May 2010 Globacom threatened to exit Ghana altogether in the face of what it termed ‘interests’ seemingly hell-bent on sabotaging its nationwide launch plans. At the time an unnamed source claimed that since Glo Mobile was awarded its GSM frequencies by the National Communications Authority (NCA), it has faced obstacles in terms of seeking approval for the swift deployment of its base stations, an encroachment on the frequencies it was awarded by the NCA and the repeated vandalism of its advertising billboards. In August the government moved to reassure Globacom that it was ‘free to do business in Ghana’, but the statement appears to have done little to resolve the stalemate.