The fifth generation (5G) mobile technology will be launched in Ghana from September this year. This was revealed by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications and Digitalization, on Wednesday March 20 during an intervention on the local radio station Peace FM.

This announcement promises Ghanaian telecom consumers a better connectivity experience with faster download speeds, low latency, improved bandwidth, among others. It nevertheless raises the question of Ghana’s level of preparation for 5G at the level of government, telecom operators and consumers.

5G: where is the Ghanaian government?

Ms. Owusu-Ekuful did not provide further details on the deployment of ultra-broadband in Ghana. However, we already know that the 5G spectrum and license will not be auctioned as is generally done. The Ghanaian government has instead decided to create a neutral shared infrastructure company that will make appropriate mobile technologies available to telecom operators.

This strategy should ensure that 5G is fully and quickly available nationwide, even in rural areas. In several African countries where the 5G license has been awarded to telecom operators, there has always been a delay in the effective deployment of the network throughout the national territory. The service has always been mainly concentrated in one part of the capital and a few main secondary towns.

Where are the telecom operators?

At the operator level, MTN Ghana began to show its interest in 5G from August 2021. The company had even planned a pilot phase in 2022, but this ultimately did not take place since negotiations with the telecoms regulator did not take place. not successful. The company still continued to modernize its telecoms network to prepare for the launch of the technology. Its parent company, MTN Group, committed in February 2023 to investing $1 billion in 5G over five years.

While other Ghanaian telecom operators have not yet made formal announcements on 5G, they are all engaged in strategies to modernize and expand their networks in order to strengthen their competitiveness in the market.

Telecel (formerly Vodafone Ghana) is currently focusing its investments on the extension of the 4G network and the launch of innovative fintech solutions. AT (formerly AirtelTigo) signed a joint venture agreement in November 2023 with the British venture capital company Hannam Investments. The latter is committed to investing in cutting-edge technologies and infrastructure modernization to create a leading 4G mobile telecommunications network, focused on delivering fast, reliable and secure data to the consumer.

At the consumer level

Once launched, the adoption of 5G in Ghana will notably depend on the availability on the market of smartphones compatible with this technology, as well as on the ability of consumers to acquire them. According to a report available on Ecofin Pro and entitled “5G: what can change in Africa with ultra-high speed”, 5G smartphones currently cost between $200 and $1,500 and are therefore not within the reach of the majority of the population. African population. The report also cites the high cost of 5G internet service as a barrier to its adoption.

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