The mobile phone: a blessing or a curse?

Ghana’s early experience with mobile phones dates back to the early 1990s.
Within a spate of about two decades, we were touted as one of the countries with the widest mobile penetration not only in Africa but the world at large.


Following this, the smartphone was introduced by a Japanese firm and there has been no looking back. Smartphones became widespread in the late 2000s and today, there are over a billion users worldwide.

The reason why we embraced the mobile technology so heartily has been traced to the low landline penetration in our part of the world and the plethora of functions it plays. Smartphones are fulfilling most people's need for a telephone, digital camera and video camera, GPS navigation, a media player, clock, news, calculator, web browser, video game player, flashlight, compass, an address book, note-taking, digital messaging and even an event calendar.

The proliferation of the smartphone in our society has had a lot of advantages. The phone has not only aided communication for socialisation, thereby keeping us in touch with our family and friends, but it has made possible the transfer of information and pictures instantly. It seems to be even complementing the efforts of the walkie-talkie used by our security personnel, aiding in communication during their day-to-day operations to prevent and fight crime and to regulate traffic flow. The smartphone is able to transport us from wherever we are located into the world of another through shared videos and pictures.

Economically, it has allowed the transfer of money from one place to another to the extent that it saves time and money. These are only a few of the positives this technology has made possible.

But this same device has come with a lot of negatives too. The very desire to own one has landed many in jail after they had stolen it or attempted to do so. Those in jail have even been the lucky ones as those not so lucky have been lynched. The smartphone has been the source of instability and quarrels in relationships as snooping partners have found their partners cheating and partners seem to spend so much time on chats to the dissatisfaction of their partners. The device seems to have a way of easily getting and keeping attention to the extent that some become addicted and simply can’t put it down.

This is to the extent that people don’t seem to listen anymore because they intend to call to ask same things you are telling them once they leave your presence.

With it also has been the zeal to be the first to share stuff. Whether appropriate or not, there seems to be some uncontrollable urge to share messages received to make one feel “ in vogue” perhaps. There have been many occasions where people who have rushed to an accident scene have done so not to help the accident victims but to capture videos and pictures of the scene in order to be the first to share them, giving them some unexplained gratification.

Then comes the worrisome trend of the circulation of leaked sex videos which naturally has varied and wide consequences.

Scandals resulting from leaked sex tapes and other materials are becoming too many for comfort in a society where openly discussing sex seems a taboo. Recently, and in close succession, we are seeing in circulation videos recorded by those supposed to be victims of the scandals that have emerged from such acts -- they privately recorded the videos themselves but somehow, these videos end up circulating in the public domain.

Examples of such videos are many. A few of them which readily come to mind include the video dubbed: “Begoro Limping man,” and then came that of the Tamale Sex Scandal and “Rashida Black beauty” who recorded herself nude. Among the recent ones is that involving the headteacher and Senior High School (SHS) student and the case of a pastor’s wife who reportedly mistakenly sent explicit videos to her church members instead of her husband.

I am wondering what it is that seems to be making some Ghanaians so eager to record what they do in private. Is it worth the trouble to record that which is likely to fall into the wrong hand and circulate in public space?

The mobile device is likely to keep transforming the way we do things because of the many advantages it presents and, therefore, it is not even possible to think about life without it. It is the abuse of the device that is the problem.

It seems the device is in the hands of many who don’t really understand completely all that it can do and can’t do.

We will, therefore, need to do some education on this to prevent the kind of unacceptable incidents we are witnessing. As individuals, we need to be circumspect about the kind of things we are so eager to share. After all, the smartphone was made for man and not man for the smartphone.




According to data from the Bank of Ghana and mobile money operators,the amount of money mobilized outside the banking system through mobile money reached a record GH¢2.3 billion ending December 2017, The amount represents a growth of 84.6 percent over the December 2016 amount of GH¢1.3 billion. These funds mobilized through mobile money are currently held by partner banks.


Mobile Money Service Providers operating in Ghana

Mobile Money Accounts
The data also showed that mobile money accounts reached 23.95 million accounts compared with 11.43 million accounts as at end December 2017.
This could also mean that an individual might have had more than one account as a subscriber of any of the Telcos and comparing this assertion to market penetration data from C-GAP ( a world bank affiliate working with more than 30 leading organizations that seek to advance financial inclusion).

The value of mobile money transactions was GH¢155.8 billion at end December 2017 showing a growth of 98.5 percent over December end position of GH¢78.5 billion in December 2016.
Largest share of deposit
MTN came on top as having the largest share of deposits, accounting for more than 90 percent of mobile money accounts held at commercial banks. MTN as at October 2017 had GH¢2.1 billion representing 93.5 percent of deposits held at commercial banks.

Airtel/Tigo followed with GH¢79 million accounting for 3.56 percent share of the deposits. Vodafone had 2.52 percent of the market share with GH¢57 million deposits.

Banks holding the Major Floats
Fidelity Bank led the pack in terms of the banks holding the largest share of mobile money deposits with GH¢583 million. ECOBANK had GH¢470 million, while CAL Bank held GH¢229m.
These were the top three banks out of the 19 banks captured in the Bank of Ghana data holding the mobile money deposits as at October 2017.

Impact on job Creation
Details of mobile money performance report also shows that direct jobs created by mobile money through engagement of mobile money agents was 194,688 in December 2017 compared with 136,769 in December 2016.

Regulatory Regime
With the Payment Systems and Services Bill coming into force later in this year, there is general expectation that the ecosystem will be provided additional support for the deepening of the payment landscape by creating job opportunities for the youth, facilitating international inward transfers, providing convenience and choice for consumers.

Source: Joy Business

AirtelTigo redundancy package concerns resolved

The ongoing retrenchment exercise at AirtelTigo, following the merger of the two companies which came to a standstill over the alleged use of a wrong formula to calculate packages, has been corrected and resolved.

The first batch of senior staff who received notice of their retrenchment packages rejected it outright, accusing management of using a strange formula that shortchanged workers significantly.

Following the rejection, a group of workers, calling themselves the Concerned AirtelTigo Workers, put out a write up accusing management of several things, including side-stepping the provisions of a workers handbook and an agreed formula.

CEO of Airtel Tigo - Roshi Motman

The CEO of AirtelTigo, Roshi Motman, met the Network of Communication Reporters (NCR) last week and assured the journalists that she was taking a closer look at the handbook and possibly work with it, following the initial agitations.

She promised her commitment to ensuring that deserving workers get matching positions in the merged company, while those who have to leave are given proper career counseling and requisite retrenchment packages.

Following these comments from Roshi, there has been renewed excitement with staff and some top management persons confirming currently management is using the handbook plus a bit more exciting packages added.

Mobility Centre

CEO Roshi Motman stated that the company has established a special Mobility Centre, where all workers are going through a process to either be employed on merit or let go with a deserving retrenchment package.

The Mobility Centre is manned by experts from Deloitte and Touch, who take workers through hours of question and answer period, plus one-on-one counselling sessions to determine how each person can fit into the roles available in the merged company or move on smoothly.

So far, over 100 workers have been through the Mobility Centre and just a few of them have been affected by redundancy.

Management explained that the process started from the senior level staff it is gradually trickling down through the ranks so that once the leaders of each department are confirmed, they can now help in the selection of the team they will work with.

“We have a very skilled human resource from both Airtel and Tigo so we are taking our time to ensure that we extract the best of the best and that is why the process seems to be taking time,” she said.

Way forward

On the way forward for the merged company, Roshi Motman said they are currently working on merging the customer shops, cell sites and data centres in a strategic fashion that would provide customers with the best experience on the network.

She is confident that with the combination of Airtel’s strength in intra-city fibre spread and Tigo’s strength in the inter-city fibre network, the merged entity will be a force to recon with in the industry.


“This merger is good for this country because soon we will be recapitalizing the company to bring a boost in the economy and also ensure some decent competition that inures to the benefits of consumers in the long-run,” she said.

She noted that examples around the world show that where just a few telcos operate in a country, there is value for each of them, so she trusts that the merger would, in the long run, create value for all industry players and stakeholders.

Roshi Motman said the company would also be combining the strengths of Airtel Money and Tigo Cash on the mobile money market to provide customers with the best of service backed by enough liquidity in the hands of merchants.

“We will pay a great deal of attention to making all our processes very easy for customers so that their experience on our network will be the best one,” she said.

AirtelTigo has 18 months to complete the merger at all levels, and management says even when the merger is completed they will still maintain the two sets of number blocks of 026/056 and 027/057.

Source: Myjoyonline


Joe Anokye confirmed as NCA's Director General

Acting Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Joe Anokye, has been confirmed as the Director-General of the Authority by the Public Services Commission.This confirmation comes almost a year after President Akufo-Addo appointed him as acting Director-General of the NCA.

Since January 2017, when Joe Anokye started work in an acting capacity with the NCA, he has led the Authority to enforce and enact some key regulatory decisions. In that period, the NCA has strengthened its mandate with key spectrum audits for TV and radio which have led to increase in compliance by players in the industry.

In addition to supervising the first of a kind mobile network operator (MNO) merger in the history of the regulator and between two (2) key operators (Airtel Ghana Limited and Millicom – Tigo Ghana Limited), the Authority has also constituted six (6) teams called Service Monitoring Owners to ensure regulatory compliance of the 26 services it regulates.

Other achievements over the year include supporting government’s agenda by enabling the MNOs deploy UMTS-900 in unserved and underserved communities to improve data penetration. The NCA has also installed a Network Monitoring System (NMS) that gives full visibility of the core networks of Mobile Network Operators (MNO), as well as the installation of Nemo Invex Equipment to measure all the requisite KPIs pertaining to CDMA, voice quality and LTE. There is also now a complete database on all the network infrastructure of telecom services.

Mr. Anokye is a Telecommunications Executive well vested in a wide range of Telecommunication Management, Telecommunication Networks and Cyber Security platforms in both public and private sector. He has over twenty-two (22) years hands-on technical and management experience across Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. From January 1997 to February 2016, Mr. Anokye worked on several contracts at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland – USA as a Senior Telecommunications Consultant, including supervising NASA’s Global Mission Telecommunication Wide Area Network (WAN) technical team.

A talented and accomplished Technology Executive, Mr. Anokye has a proven record in leading technology transformation, improvement initiatives and aligning technology services with business objectives. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Ghana’s communication industry and will be instrumental in efforts to expand Ghana’s communication network to support our developmental objectives or local and international organisations, including the Volta River Authority, Ashanti Goldfields, VOIP International Gateway for NITEL ‐ Nigeria, Sun Solaris installation & configuration for Ghana Telecom, GCB and Ministry of Finance and VOIP gateway for Westel (now Airtel). He has also been instrumental in the initiation and development of Internet Services in Ghana, Togo, Nigeria and Gambia.

Source: NCA