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Ghana: Cedi Depreciation Hits Telcos Hard
Posted on: 21-Aug-2012         Source: dailyguideghana.com
Philip Sowah, Managing Director of Airtel has stated that the depreciation of the cedi against the major trading currencies, particularly the dollar, is affecting the telecoms industry.

“We are taking a hit for the depreciating cedi. A lot of our contracts are dollar-based. It had been very tough for us but we are confident that things will get better,” he told senior business and finance editors in Accra last Friday.

He said while prices of goods and services had been increased generally, the keen competition in the telecoms sector had ensured that tariffs remained stable in the sector.

The development, according to him, had forced them to top-up production cost without meaningful returns.

“For us at Airtel, we are building a sustainable business. We are not in a hurry to make money. We want to stay in Ghana for a very long time and we are investing in the right infrastructure to get us there.”

He said currently, Airtel is deploying 100 additional cell sites across Accra alone to expand its 3G services, adding “we want about 20 per cent of our revenue to come from data provision services and from what I see, we are getting there.”

“We are expanding heavily in the data network. Our 3G service has become strong and we are moving to get Accra blanket coverage.”

Mr. Sowah said the process whereby the companies share masts, commonly referred to as co-location, was becoming increasingly significant in the industry.

“We currently have over 1,000 cell sites across the country and the co-location process has further expanded our reach. We want to continue to intensify the co-location agenda.”

He described the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) as the best run project in the sector, stating that Airtel would take advantage of the project to reach more people.

“We have crossed the 3 million subscriber mark. We have a high number of customers who use our services and about 80 per cent of them use the services we provide in any 30-day period.”

Mrinal Roy, Chief Operating Officer said Airtel has the best data speed currently and they were constructing more infrastructure projects to ensure that the company continues to maintain its leadership as data service provider.

“We want to be the most transparent network and our corporate social responsibility is giving us satisfaction to do more, he said, adding that Airtel was committed to ensuring affordability and accessibility.

Oare Ojeikere, Development and Marketing Manager, said Airtel Money, the most strategic project of the company, was enriching lives.

By William Yaw Owusu