Despite many concerns that the cost of data in Ghana is expensive, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Selorm Adadevoh has disclosed that the country is among the top three African countries that charge the cheapest rates for internet data.
He saID MTN for instance, as part of efforts to reduce data charges, has consistently and deliberately invested more in fibre to improve its services.
Speaking at MTN’s editor’s forum in Kumasi, he added that if not for the fact that most of the contents Ghanaians consume are from the United States of America (US) and United Kingdom (UK), and as such, the company spends more on undersea cables in order to ensure connectivity, internet charges in Ghana would have been much cheaper.
“In terms of fibre, we have about 8000 kilometers of fibre, and we continue to invest very heavily in fibre. And for those who are technical, we have 320 Gigabyte per second undersea cable capacity. Now, undersea cable, basically what happens is every time you go to Google, and you search for something, it tries to determine where the content you’re searching for is. In Ghana today, most of the content we download come from US and UK. If you take our content that comes from Ghana, it is over 90%. It is a lot of our content, but if the content is not here, then you have to go through undersea cables. Which are cables that take us under the sea. Ghana is connected to different countries to bring the content back. It is very expensive. What do you think will happen if a lot of our content were in Ghana? We won’t need 320 GB per second, right, which means we won’t pay for 320 GB per second. So what do you think will happen to the cost of data? It would be cheaper.”
“If we consume content locally, we won’t need all those resources that we pay for today. Therefore, our cost of data will also be cheaper. If you go to UK, someone will say Ghana you’re expensive, Let’s compare to America, UK. And they will make all this analysis but what they forget is that, in the UK, they consume content that is from the UK. In the US, they consume content that is from the US. Secondly, as I said, we have 8000 kilometers of fibre, these guys (US and UK) have 300,000 kilometers of fibre. Fibre is also cheaper. If you have fibre all over the country, you can transmit a lot of data very cheaply on that one cable. So these are some of the things that contribute towards data and why is it maybe not as affordable as we would like. But you know, if you think about Africa, Ghana is probably number three in terms of the cheapest country for data. There are different benchmarks that would have been created, but in all that, Ghana is somewhere at the top when it comes to the cost of data. We are one of the cheapest despite all of that. So, we are doing really well”.
Mr. Selorm Adadevoh believes that if Ghana could build platforms where Ghanaians would consume most of the content locally, the cost of data would be significantly reduced.
“Once we are able to support through platforms where small enterprises can build more local content, so people can consume, all of these things are geared towards localization for local Consumption. If we can achieve that, then we will continue to accelerate the improvement in pricing for data as we go forward”.