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Vodafone, MTN advance on 4G in Ghana

Vodafone, MTN advance on 4G in Ghana

Companies launch 4G LTE and 4G+ respectively as market considers country's readiness on 4IR and 5G network adoption.

Vodafone Ghana launched its 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service last week, earlier than its original scheduled date in April.

The launch happened to take place on the same day MTN Ghana rolled out its 4G+ advanced service on its already-deployed 4G LTE technology.

Vodafone Ghana's outgoing CEO Yolanda Cuba said, "As we launch 4G today, we also have 4.5G on some of our sites...This 4G investment is one of our biggest investments after Vodafone UK actually became part of Vodafone Ghana.

"It is also one of the biggest achievements that I'd say I have made outside the people I have worked with because I think this is what will get us on our way as a country, as a nation, to the fourth digital revolution. And for me, this step is one that I am most proud of - not because of anything but because it actually let us enter into the real world of data and using data and connectivity for the betterment of our people in Ghana."

The telco's incoming CEO Patricia Obo-Nai begins her tenure from 1 April 2019.

MTN and Vodafone are the market's dominant telcos and together control about 70% of the country's subscriber base.

Industry analysts believe their respective 4G launches represent an effort to propel the market towards 5G.

Globally, commercial 5G networks are not expected to start deployment until after 2020. The GSM Association (GSMA) expects 5G connections to reach 1.1 billion (about 12% of total mobile connections) by 2025.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) continues to advise policy-makers to improve availability and quality of 4G networks until the case for 5G networks becomes clearer and more compelling.

The global telecom body argues that strengthening 4G networks and making them accessible is critical in the run up to 5G.

5G services have been touted as an improvement on 4G mobile networks and the general market expectation is that they will result in significant economic gain. However, the market also anticipates that high levels of investment will be required and there is a clear possibility of widening the digital divide.

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