Govt, telcos urged to collaborate to meet global standards

THE Director of the Vobiss Solutions, Mr Usen Antia, has called for collaboration between the government and telecommunication companies to meet the global technological communication standards.

That, he said, would bring an improvement in technology, thereby speeding the advancement of communication in the various sectors of the economy.

He added that although some telecommunication network providers were making progress in services, there were little interventions in the form of policy implementation which enabled telcos and investors to operate in the country.

Mr Antia said this at the 2018 Furukawa Broadband Systems training and showcase of products to the Ghanaian market which was held on July 6, 2018.

Recounting similar instances in some European countries, he said there were a lot of governmental support for broadband investment since technology was the future for education, governance, as well as huge investment into the future.Mr Antia said with government’s initiatives, moderate policy implementations and advice for both the already grown companies and growing companies could help them function well to meet international standards.

That, he said, would serve as source of employment for the citizenery, improve the standard of living, reduce poverty, generate revenue for the state through taxation and reduce over-dependence on government.

With this, he said the telecommunications operators should not compromise their activities but rather develop means of adopting the fibre network system which could reach the target customers at their various homes at a higher speed.

He added that with fibre network, “data is transferred using light sent down the cable. And Fibre Optic network is often used as an alternative to copper if the data is required to travel long distance at the higher speed.”

“Fibre network connection cannot be cut off from the industry so to bridge the technological gap, Ghana should increase connections to the fibre. Currently, the country has more than half a million connected to fibre,” he said.

Mr Antia stated that with current speed to meet the growing demand of the customers, it was necessary for the Vobiss Solution and Furukawa Electrical Group to collaborate to educate the participants on the need to understand how internet service providers could engage in the huge investment from this industry.

“Our clients, stakeholders and the industry players have to know a lot about fibre network since our companies are now introduced this into the market and help them alongside”, he indicated

He said moving forward, it was estimated that the urban population would increase from five million to 10 million; hence, if strategic measures were not put in place, access to internet service would be scarce.

“We believe that internet access is a human right that citizens should enjoy without limitation or interruptions”, he indicated.

He, therefore, appealed to the government, stakeholders, industry players and the country as a whole to do everything necessary to get connected to the fibre network system. — GB

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MTN targets $750M from Ghana IPO

MTN Logo

MTN opened an IPO for 35 per cent of its Ghana business, while separate reports emerged dampening expectations for the company’s float of its Nigeria operation.

The operator group has long been expected to IPO both its Nigeria and Ghana businesses by the end of the year, a goal said to be on track by Group CEO Rob Shuter at the company’s earnings call in early May.

Its Ghana IPO was imposed by the country’s authorities as part of the terms of its 4G licence in a bid to increase local ownership of major companies operating in Ghana.

As a result the float has been marketed to appeal to investors from within the country and just five per cent of the new shares were available to international investors, MTN Group CFO Ralph Mupita confirmed at the launch event.

MTN Ghana CEO Ebenezer Asante added the ability to buy shares through its mobile money platform would increase the appeal of the IPO to citizens, noting: “people the length and breadth of the country do not need to know where the Ghana Stock Exchange is located, they have the Ghana Stock Exchange on their phones.”

In its prospectus, the company said it was the leading operator in Ghana with 17.83 million subscribers and a market share of 55 per cent as of the end of December 2017. It hopes to receive a total of GHS3.48 billion ($747 million) for the 35 per cent stake.

Nigeria progress
In the hours prior to the launch of the MTN Ghana IPO, a spokesperson from MTN Nigeria was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria calming expectation on the progress of its IPO in that country.

The spokesperson reportedly said the company was still “perfecting” the details and quashed earlier reports it was expecting to receive $500 million from the float – stating no value or specific timeline had been confirmed.

Source: MobileWorldLive

Govt to introduce coding in Basic Schools

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (Communications Minister)

The Ministry of Communications is in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to review the curriculum of schools to institutionalize coding programming as a subject to be taught in all Junior High Schools in the country.

This is to enable children of school going age to be abreast of the development of software applications to boost the country’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) drive.
The Ministry says it is also ready to install a switch for internet exchange point in Kumasi Metropolis, the second in the country, by the close of May 2018 to facilitate the exchange of local internet traffic and to reduce cost of bandwidths and data prices.

Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful disclosed these at this year’s “International Girls in ICT Day” on Friday, under the theme, “Expand Horizons, Change Attitudes”. The day has been set aside to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICT.
About 600 Junior High Schools students selected from various districts in the Ashanti Region, who have been trained in ICT programmes, were present at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to celebrate the day.

The celebration of the day was capped with awards, under the auspices of International Communication Union (ITU), for the best 10 performing students with Nora Akoto Tamakloe from Santa Maria School in the Atwima Kwanwoma District emerging as the overall best, as she took home a laptop computer, hard drive, power bank, modem and a certificate.
She was followed by Millicent Afrakomaa of Saint John’s School in the Bekwai Municipality while Elizabeth Quaicoo of Asokore Mampong Junior High School placed third. Both of them walked home with certificates, laptop computers and modems.

Among the best 10 was also a student from the Garden City Special School in Kumasi, Atta Ama Macleana, who took home a laptop computer and other accessories.
According to the Communications Minister, government would soon establish computer laboratories in the schools of the three best students for the benefit of all and sundry within the area but cautioned the children against cyber crime.

Mrs. Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff on her part said the government would do all possible to change the face of ICT in Ghana for girls in particular to have access to skills training. She also reiterated government’s interest in girls’ skills training to fill the ICT gaps by encouraging the Ministry of Communications to establish more ICT clubs in the country.

Deputy Secretary General of ITU, Mr. Malcolm Johnson commended the government for the free Senior High School initiative and said his outfit would continue to collaborate with Ghana to make sure young girls choose careers in ICT.

Source: Ghanaian Times

Ooredoo makes history with 5G launch


Qatar-based Ooredoo claimed it had become the world’s first operator to deploy a commercial 5G network, representing a “breakthrough” for the industry.

In a statement, the company said it had now launched a live 5G network on the 3.5GHz spectrum band and, in effect, beat rival global operators to the punch.

The first stage of Ooredoo’s 5G Supernet deployment covers an area from The Pearl Qatar island to the Hamad International Airport, with a number of parts of the country also covered as part of the initial commercial launch.

5G devices
However, while the company claimed 5G had now launched in the country, it added in its statement that access to the network “will require a 5G compatible device from Ooredoo”, which are yet to launch.

Presumably, until this happens, Ooredoo’s 5G network will not be accessible by consumers.

When it is usable, Ooredoo’s 5G service will offer New Radio capabilities to provide high speed, capacity and better latency compared to “existing cellular systems”, said the company.

Waleed Al Sayed, Ooredoo Qatar CEO, said the operator and country had made history by becoming the “first company in the world to offer access to 5G technology and services”.

The development follows the activation of Ooredoo’s new 5G Commercial Core Network, occurring “days ago”.

Ooredoo said it had been working on 5G deployment since 2016, and tipped the technology to provide the foundations for new innovations including driverless cars and smart roads, a national fleet of service drones and VR/AR deployment.

Deployments of 5G in the US (from AT&T and Verizon) are also expected at the end of this year, and Qualcomm recently said a handful of smartphone vendors were also aiming to launch 5G-ready devices at the end of this year.

Source: Mobile World Live