MTN invests $448m in Ghana in 2009

MTN Ghana invested 448 million dollars in infrastructure and new technology in 2009, Ms. Mawuena Adjo Dumor, Corporate Service Executive, told the GNA on Friday.

Out of the amount, 228 million dollars went into infrastructure, comprising of cell sites, fibre optics and implementation of co-location agreements with others, and 220 million dollars was spent on new technology, including 3.5G, Mobile Money, Mobile Television and others.

“We spent 200 million dollars on cell sites alone, 25 million dollars to lay 98 per cent of our initial fibre optics target last year and three million dollars to implement about 100 out of 150 co-location agreements with other operators,” she said.

Ms. Dumor said MTN was left with cross border fibre optics links to start rolling out services on fibre optics technology, which promises higher speed and affordable broadband, voice and data services.

She said 80 per cent of MTN cell sites were located in rural and underserved communities and that was beside the fact that MTN was the biggest contributor to the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), which also mounted cell sites for co-location in rural and underserved areas.

“We are also the only operator who has opened up all our cell sites for co-location,” she said.

She said contrary to assertion within political circles and a cross section of the public that the biggest chunk of MTN’s spending was on aggressive marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR), investments on new technology and infrastructure was more than four times that of marketing and CSR put together.

Ms Dumor said MTN could not have had any innovative products and services to market without the heavy investments into infrastructure and new technology needed to run those products and services.

She assured the public that in 2010 MTN would show higher commitments in three main areas; investments, engagement with stakeholders and partners, and to CSR.

Last year, MTN spent over two million Ghana cedis on CSR alone and it assured the public that in 2010 more money would be committed to that sector.

Ms. Dumor said with regard to CSR, priority would be given to needs to be identified by MTN staff in their own communities and those needs which met the criteria of the CSR board would be attended to.

“We will also take proposals from the general public and respond to those which meet our criteria,” she said.

On engagements with stakeholders and partners, she said in 2010 MTN would, for  instance, launch a number of specialised external newsletters targeted at various segments of the public as a way of engaging different segments at their levels, adding there would be more engagements with the media, government, regulators and the general public.

“We will work close with the regulators and the media to undertake more public education on issues of concern to all our stakeholders,” she said.

MTN is the mobile market leader in Ghana, with some 54 per cent market share, representing over eight million subscribers out of some 15 million by close of year in 2009.

Ms. Dumor spoke about competition in the mobile phone market and said it was good for subscribers but added that MTN was convinced it would maintain its leadership position and continue to be the biggest corporate tax payer in Ghana.

“We will continue to offer competitive pricing, recruit and retain high skilled professionals and roll out innovative products and services that suit the needs and wants of our subscribers,” she said.

Source: GNA

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