Disparities discovered in wireless penetration in Ghana

Documents available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) reveal disparities in the number of active mobile phone subscriptions in the country. The National Communications Authority (NCA), in its first quarter report for 2009, placed wireless penetration at 55 per cent of 24 million Ghanaians, but statistics from other sources are different. Millicom Ghana has published on its website, www.millicom.com, that wireless penetration in Ghana is 47 per cent, citing interconnectivity activities between operators as its �authentic� source of information. Tigo also used a 24 million population size as its baseline and said its market share was 25.7 per cent and not 22 to 23 per cent as quoted by other sources. The NCA�s 55 per cent penetration, for the first quarter, meant there were 13.2 million active wireless subscribers in Ghana at the close of March 2009, out of which MTN had 6.8 million (51.5 per cent), Tigo 2.9 million (22 per cent), Vodafone 1.7 million (13 per cent), Zain 697,000 (5.3 per cent) and Kasapa 380,162 (three per cent). The total figure of 12,473,413 is actually 94.5 per cent of the 13.2 million subscribers derived from NCA�s 55 per cent penetration. Tigo�s 47 per cent of 24 million people meant there were 11.28 million subscribers bringing its 25.7 per cent market share to 2,896,251, which is exactly what Tigo quoted on its website. From Tigo�s figure of 11.28 million, MTN�s 6.8 million comes to 60.3 per cent and yet the NCA�s figures placed MTN�s share at 54 per cent, even though from computation based on the NCA�s 55 per cent, MTN�s share came to 51.5 per cent. Based on Tigo�s figure, Vodafone�s 1.7 million comes to 15 per cent, which is different from the 13 per cent quoted by NCA. Obviously the figures from Zain and Kasapa also showed similar disparities in terms of their market shares. Another source quoted that Ghana�s population was 24.32 million out of which MTN had 6,777,000 subscribers, Tigo 2,875,740; Vodafone, 1,786,000; Zain, 697,000 and Kasapa, 380,162, by the end of March 2009. Out of the total of 12,515,902 quoted by a third source, MTN had 54.1 per cent market share, which is close to what the NCA quoted for MTN, but did not tally with NCA,s own 55 per cent penetration. Tigo�s market share comes to 22.98 per cent, about two per cent less than what Tigo claimed for itself and one per cent higher than the NCA�s figure. Vodafone had 14.3 per cent, which is about one per cent less than what Tigo gave it and 1.3 per cent more than what NCA quoted. Zain�s share came to 5.6 per cent, 0.3 per cent more than what the NCA reported (5.3 per cent) and about 0.7 per cent less than what Tigo reported. Kasapa�s market share came to three per cent; not much different from what both the NCA and Tigo reported. Mr. Joshua Peprah, Director, Regulatory and Administration at the NCA, told GNA that subscription figures quoted in the NCA report was based on the 90-days report submitted to the authority by the operators in the industry. Meanwhile some of the operators confided in the GNA that active subscription figures were over-bloated due to parallel reporting resulting from more than a network capturing a particular subscriber who might have left a network for another within the three month reporting period. The operators admitted that there was no uniform standard for measuring the number of active subscribers, because each of them used different software, for security reasons and ended up using different methods, which impacted on the final results.