The outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana has officially led the charge in deploying 4G and 4.5G services on Tuesday, March 19 having acquired the license earlier this year in January.
Madam Yolanda Zoleka Cuba who exists after three years to take up another appointment in her South Africa home country submitted Vodafone Ghana worked to secure the fourth generation system to among others allowing customers to enjoy faster internet and innovative products.
Showing an emotional side, Madam Cuba acknowledged she is a different person from the lady who came to Ghana three years ago to take up appointment as the CEO because of the love and care shown her by the Ghanaian people as well as the fire she’s had to walk through which has made her a better person.
On the 4G rollout, she stated “I am excited because it’s finally here. Today customers can experience 4G and 4.5G,” thanking the Vodafone Ghana staff, minority shareholder –the Ghanaian government and other shareholders for working hard to pull off the deployment.
Vodafone Ghana had been plagued by debt inherited from predecessor Ghana Telecom and making it pay substantial interest on loans but Madam Cuba declared that there has been a balance sheet restructuring enabling the business to be solvent and be able to undertake projects exemplified by the swift deployment of the 4G spectrum adding with the new positioning also dividends can be paid to the state.
For customers, the network upgrade means better services, faster speeds, superior uploads & downloads with 4.5 system deployed at some cell sites according to the Vodafone Ghana CEO adding “the investment is one of the biggest since Vodafone UK became part of Vodafone Ghana.” The 4G spectrum secured for a tidy sum of US$30 million makes Vodafone Ghana the second telco operator in the country to have the LTE spectrum leaving Madam Cuba with no doubt that with Vodafone having the largest 4G deployment outside of China, Ghana will gain greatly from such expansive global system.
Keynote speaker and Minister of Communications, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful intimated as someone who sat on the erstwhile Ghana Telecom board, she was particularly delighted to have Vodafone put in work culminating in the 4G service launch.
She stated at the 10th anniversary of Vodafone Ghana, Vice President Dr. Bawumia expressed government’s willingness as a 30% minority shareholder in Vodafone to support the telco’s quest to secure the 4G spectrum to improve the internet as well as call experience of citizens.
She was awed by the speedy nature the Vodafone technical guys set up the infrastructure to enable the LTE deployment on their network from January to March.
“Despite the uncertainty with the 4G license acquisition, I understand Yolanda went ahead and ordered for the machinery which will be used in deploying the 4G system should the bid be successful. That was an act of faith and I believe she is a woman of faith,” Madam Owusu-Ekufu submitted full of praise for the outgoing CEO.
She observed how technology has impacted lives noting even when one leaves his or he phone at home, one feels his or her arm has been lost as folks can’t function properly as smart phones are not just for calls but also serving as offices, banks and many others.
“As the minister for the sector, I am ready to work with stakeholders to enhance performance, improve profitability and tax payment leading to delivery of better service to clients,” Hon. Owusu-Ekufu stressed.
While it took 10 years for 2G to move to 3G, also taking a decade to have 4G after 3G, the communications minister was of the view that it was needles to wait another ten years to enjoy 5G since lessons can be learned from the foibles of predecessors further urging Vodafone Ghana to lead the charge to 5G rollout in Ghana.
Board Chairman of Vodafone Ghana, Dr. Kwabena Quansah counted the 4G deployment as one his significant achievements adding the shareholders’ support has been key in competing and winning in the market.
Director General of the National Communication Authority (NCA) Joe Anokye stated as a regulator of the industry, he is elated about the launch as applications need to communicate in real time and can do that efficiently on the highest systems.
The NCA chief however admonished: “the NCA expects the demands and expectations of customers will be met nationwide. We also expect the 4G rollout to be fast and not limited to larger cities,” adding “there is need for passive infrastructure sharing by the telcos to reduce the high cost associated with set-ups.”
He expressed optimism about Vodafone’s 9.8 million voice customers enjoying the 4G system and offerings. Already those on the Vodafone network have expressed pleasant surprise at their devices now displaying the LTE sign on its own without having to secure a different data sim to enjoy faster speed.
In session for the launch at the Labadi Beach Hotel were Chairman of the Board of the National Communications Authority; Kwaku Addo Sakyi-Addo, Ningo-Prampram Constituency MP; Sam Nartey George, Deputy Minister for Communications; Vincent Sowah Odotei, Vodafone Ghana new Chief Executive Officer (CEO); Patricia Obo-Nai and many other notables.
By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com