Myjoyonline reports that Ghanaian would-be cellular services provider Glo Mobile has announced it will officially launch its commercial services in the country on 19 January 2012. The newcomer’s chief operating officer, George Andah, made the announcement at the Glo CAF Awards, in Accra. Andah said that the company will pre-empt the launch by holding a series of ‘activities’ designed to ensure that Glo Mobile’s ‘superior services’ get the launch they deserve.
Glo Mobile is part of Globacom, a Nigeria-based telco with operations in Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire. Having received its licence in November 2008 the fledgling operation has found itself mired in delay and controversy. Most recently, in November this year the cellco’s Nigerian parent postponed the latest revised launch of its Glo Mobile service, citing ‘logistical constraints’ as the reason. Globacom had earlier announced that its official launch in Ghana would take place on 17 November 2011, three years after first receiving a licence to offer services. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that this is the latest twist in a saga that has surrounded Globacom’s oft-delayed entry to the Ghanaian market. In August this year the government in Accra warned the would-be start-up to launch commercial services by 15 September, or face sanctions. The ultimatum was delivered by the Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, who was quoted as saying: ‘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. However, George Andah’s public announcement of a 19 January launch is the most definite date the start-up has given.
Despite the on-off situation, Glo Mobile says it plans an aggressive entry to the domestic mobile market, and claims it will go live with almost 100% coverage. The Nigerian owner claims it has invested some USD600 million in Ghana since receiving its concession to deploy a ‘unique, seamless and world class LTE network’. Glo Mobile says it has initial capacity for at least ten million customers for starters and says its network capacity is expandable. The newcomer says it has five switching centres, 18 base station controllers, 1,600 base transceiver stations, 800 3.5G cell sites, 2,850km of fibre, 25 retail outlets across the country, and around 400 staff.