MTN has announced a partnership with Ericsson and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) to extend mobile telephone access and coverage to 40 sites in rural communities across Ghana as part of the US$12m Rural Telephony Project.
The Project was initiated to extend wireless mobile telephone service coverage into areas where access is limited and where existing licensed operators have proven unwilling or unable to expand their networks.
The game-plan is to extend coverage to communities in the Brong Ahafo Region, Volta Region, Ghana's Northern Region, the Central Region and the Upper West Region.
According to the details of the partnership, MTN Ghana will fulfil the role of service provider, Ericsson will provide the infrastructure and maintenance support, while GIFEC will secure land permits for operation sites.
The US$12m required for the Rural Telephony Project has been sourced from GIFEC which is in turn financed by contributions from licensed local telecoms operators and the government.
In July 2004 the government established GIFEC as an agency of the Ministry of Communications to facilitate the provision of universal access to basic telephony to the unserved and underserved communities in the country.
In 2008, the Electronic Communications Act 775 widened GIFEC's scope to the provision of access to electronic services including ICT, broadcasting, internet, multimedia service and basic telephony.
"MTN is excited that through strong collaboration with GIFEC, we are making an impact on advancing rural telephony in Ghana. This project also fulfills MTN's agenda to bridge the digital divide among communities in Ghana," said Mohammed Rufai, Chief Technical Officer of MTN Ghana.
This is not the first time that the three entities have partnered on rural connectivity initiatives. Last year, they successfully rolled out 54 rural telephony projects in addition to 25 sites at the GIFEC Satellite Hub in Accra.