MTN earmarks $144m to bridge rural, urban digital gap

BY: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu
Mr Simon Amoh
Mr Simon Amoh

The Senior Regional Manager of MTN Ghana South West, Mr Simon Amoh, has deplored the wide gap in telecommunication services among cities, peri-urban and rural areas.

He said the gap was of prime concern to MTN, the country’s leading telecommunications company, for which US$144 million had been earmarked for investments to extend quality and reliable telecom services to rural and peri-urban areas to improve access.

Mr Amoh was speaking at this year’s ‘Y’ello Soiree’, an initiative by MTN, during which its senior managers interact with stakeholders to deepen their relationship.

He said as of January 2018, the total number of mobile connectivity in the country stood at 34.57 million.

“This clearly shows that the mobile connections as a percentage of the total population was 119 per cent, with 56 per cent connected to third generation (3G) technology platform and fourth generation (4G) broadband mainly found in the cities and urban centres,” he said.

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Network quality and expansion

That, Mr Amoh said, was an indication that there was a gap among the cities, peri-urban and the rural areas which needed to be closed.
In order to stay relevant to improve the lot of customers, he stated that: “This year we are investing $144 million into improving network quality and expansion and to help bridge that gap.”

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The company, he said, was set to roll out 695 kilometres of fibre optic cables and extend its 3G coverage up to 27 per cent, roll out 239 4G cell sites and bring up 200 new sites in the rural area.

In the Western Region, Mr Amoh said MTN “will deploy mobile network coverage to 28 rural communities by the end of 2018. We are focusing more on extending coverage to rural communities that formally did not have network”.

“This is a national project we started last year, which aims at covering our trunk roads, from boundaries of Greater Accra through the Central and Western regions towards Western, Ashanti and then Western-Cote d’Ivoire,” he stated.

The company, he said, was optimistic that when the project was completed, the lives of a greater number, especially those in the countryside, would be a lot more improved.

Meeting customer needs

The senior regional manager said MTN Ghana “will continuously revise our strategies so as to be able to meet the dreams and aspiration or customers.”

The focus, he explained, was to also use best customer experience to relate well with stakeholders so as to obtain feedback to foster better relationship.

“We are focused on our returns and efficiency drive. We want to explore commercial opportunities, grow through data and digital with our heart and mind through technology excellence” he added.

Social investment

On social investments, Mr Amoh said the company was committed to its social investment by giving back to communities through its MTN Ghana Foundation, which had contributed to healthcare delivery, education and impacted the economic livelihoods of people.

Some of the customers who spoke at the programme commended the network for its dedication and focus on improving access to telecom services in rural areas.