Mobile penetration in Ghana drops by 12%

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MOBILE penetration has dropped by 12 percentage points largely attributable to repossession of 3.4 million inactive sim cards by MTN.

Penetration dropped from 139 per cent plus, to 127 per cent at the end of April 2017. 
Mobile subscriptions, which was 39.2million(39,234,216) in February 2017, dropped to 35.7million (35,780,667) in March, and increased slightly to 35.9million (35,984,280) in April.
This was revealed in theNational Communications Authority’s (NCA) 90-day voice subscription reporting as at the end of April 30, 2017.
MTN deletes 3.4 million inactive lines
MTN Group redefined who an active subscriber is and that has led to MTN Ghana deleting as much as 3.4 million inactive lines from its network in the first quarter of 2017.
MTN grabs 800,000 new active subscribers 
On the other hand, MTN Ghana gained over 800,000 new active subscribers, and the net effect is a drop in subscriber base by 2.5 million.
MTN subscriber base drops to 16.9m
Consequently, MTN’s subscriber basecurrently stands at 16.9 million plus active voice subscribers.
Ghana has 21.5m data subscribers
On the data front, the country realised a total of 19.6million (19,697,062) subscribers in February, before MTN deleted the lines; and after the deactivation, it still increased to21.5million(21,584,899) in April.
MTN’svoice market share drops47.16%
MTN’s own voice market share has also dropped from 51.65% to 47.16%, but it still maintained its lead in the local market.
MTN’s data subscriber increased to 12m
Its data subscriber figures have, however, increased from over 11 million to more than 12 million within the period.
MTN explains
Corporate Services Executive of MTN Ghana, Cynthia Lumor, said the group redefined an active subscriber to exclude numbers that only subscribe to value added services (VAS) but could not be billed because for months there is no airtime on those numbers to allow billing.
“Those lines had for many months not generated any revenue for the company but remained on the rework and were counted as active subscriptions because initially, we were billing them for the VAS subscription on them.
“But, over time, the billing for the VAS subscriptions has been 0.00 consistently so per our new definition of who a revenue-generating subscriber is, we have had to remove those numbers from our network and start the process of reassigning the numbers,” she said.
Cynthia said the significant drop in MTN’s subscriber base is, therefore, not because subscribers left the network, but rather because MTN itself has streamlined the parameters of subscriber-definition.
She said the company goes through a painstaking process, including paying money to acquire phone numbers from the industry regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA), and they are required by law to manage the numbers well because phone numbers are a finite resource.
“The standard rule is that if a number remains inactive for up to five months without generating any revenue either by making or receiving calls, using data or VAS, that number would automatically be churned and reassigned,” Cynthia. Lumor said.
The deletion of those numbers is, therefore, part of a process of effectively managing the numbers to ensure both MTN and the stated derived maximum benefit from those numbers.
Cynthia Lumor said the company is, therefore, still monitoring the network closely, and would progressively streamline the system in line with its new definition of active subscriptions, and also in keeping with the five months standard rule.
At the group level, the cancellation of 3.4 million subscribers led to a 3.6 per cent decline in MTN Group’s subscription across its West and Central Africa (WECA) region, which comprises of eight countries.
Cynthia Lumor, however, stated that the deletion of 3.4million lines on MTN did not affect its revenue in any way because those lines were not even revenue-generating lines anyway.

Vodafone – 8.5m subscribers
Vodafone’s mobile voice subscriptions increased from 8.5million (8,582,387) as at the end of March 2017 to 8.6million (8,651,515) as at the end of April 2017. 
This represents a percentage increase of 0.81%. Vodafone’s market share for April 2017 was 24.04%.
Tigo – 5m subscribers
Tigo’s voice subscriptions increased from 5million (5,098,480) as at the end of March 2017 to 5.1million (5,187,936) as at the end of April 2017. 
This indicates a percentage increase of 1.75%. Their market share for the month under review was 14.42%.
Airtel – 4.5m subscribers
Airtel’s voice subscriptions decreased from 4.5million (4,500,907) as at the end of March 2017 to 4.3million (4,398,913) as at the end of April 2017. 
This represents a percentage decrease of 2.27%. Their total market share for the month under review was 12.22%.
Glo – 769,621 subscribers
Glo’s voice subscriptions decreased from 769,621 as at the end of March 2017 to 753,341 at the end of April 2017. 
This reflects a percentage decrease of 2.12% for the month. Their total market share for the month under review was 2.09%.
Expresso – 40,111 subscribers
Expresso’s voice subscriber figures decreased from 40,111 as at the end of March 2017 to 23,264 as at the end of April 2017. 
This represents a percentage decrease of 42.00%. Their total market share for the month under review was 0.06%.
Fixed Telephony
There are two operators providing fixed line services to the public in Ghana. 
These operators are Vodafone and Airtel. As at April 2017, the total subscription for the fixed operators was 266,082 representing a percentage decrease of 0.19% from the previous month. 
Vodafone recorded a total subscription of 259,189 while Airtel ended the month with 6,893 subscriptions.
Mobile Data Figures for April 2017
Vodafone – 3.6m subscribers
The total number of subscription for Vodafone’s mobile data in April 2017 was 3.6million (3,657,020). This is reflected in their market share of 16.94% 
Airtel – 2.7m subscribers 
Airtel’s mobile data subscriptions for April 2017 was 2.7million (2,761,521). Their market share for the month was 12.79%.
Tigo – 2.8m subscribers
Tigo’s data subscriptions for April 2017 was 2.8million (2,802,950). Tigo’s market share for the month under review was 12.99%.
Glo – 242,973 subscribers
Glo recorded data subscriber figures of 242,973 at the end of April 2017. This reflects a market share of 1.13%.
Expresso – 10,151 subscribers
Expresso’s mobile data subscriber figures as at the end of April 2017 was 10,151. This represents a market share of 0.05% for the month under review. 
Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) Operators
The total number of subscriptions for Broadband Wireless Access data was 261,508 as at the end of February 2017.
Surfline
Surfline recorded subscriptions of 77,882.
Blu
Blu Ghana recorded a total subscription of 992.
Broadband Home
Broadband Home recorded a total of 26,383.
MTN 4G, which was introduced to the existing BWA’s in February 2017, recorded a total of 156,251 subscriptions.

-The Finder

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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