India’s Reliance Jio and Tech Mahindra pledges 4G and 5G telecom services to Ghana

Ghana has agreed to deal with the Reliance Jio subsidiary, Tech Mahindra and other vendors to build 4G and 5G infrastructure. The African country aims to enhance its telecom capabilities.

Next-Gen Infrastructure Company (NGIC) of Ghana has partnered with Jio’s arm Radisys, Tech Mahindra and Nokia to build the necessary infrastructure for delivering the affordable and accessible 5G mobile broadband services.

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Radisys Corporation, unit of Ambani controlled Reliance Industries Ltd. will provide key network infrastructure, applications and smartphones for Ghana-based company Next-Gen InfraCo.

According to the Executive Director of NGIC – Harkirit Singh the plans of NGIC were launched through an announcement on Monday in Mumbai which is India’s financial hub.

Singh then explained further that NGIC is planning to begin with the operations by the end of the year 2024 and will try to provide 5G broadband services to mobile operators and internet service providers in Ghana.

Owner of Reliance Jio Mukesh Ambani (left), Tech Mahindra Anand Mahindra (center) and  CEO of Nokia (right)
Owner of Reliance Jio Mukesh Ambani (left), Tech Mahindra Anand Mahindra (center) and CEO of Nokia (right)

He told further that the company desires to build affordable digital services in the emerging markets. He mentioned the other strategic partners which are involved with NGIC such as Nokia Oyj, Indian outsourcer Tech Mahindra Ltd. and Microsoft Corp., that has fixed its focus on the telecoms business by following an acquisition of two cloud networking firms back in 2020.

Ghana is a West African country, with a population that counts to be around 33million and has three main operators MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana and State-run AirtelTigo.

Harkirit Singh mentioned that NGIC’s strategic partners, its technological prowess and the company’s possession of Ghana’s only 5G license will help it in building broadband services at scale, with a huge expense for individual mobile carriers.

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The two African telecom firms – Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET holds a combined stake of 55% in the new company.

Ghana government will own under 10% of NGIC, whereas local mobile operators and private investors will retain the remaining shares in the company only.

As per Singh, NGIC has the exclusive right to offer 5G services in Ghana for a decade, though its license is valid for only 15 years. The company’s capital expenditure for three years is $145 million.

Representative image of 4G and 5G telecom services
Representative image of 4G and 5G telecom services

Considerably, the Minister for Communication and Digitalisation of Ghana – Ursula Owusu-Ekuful told that the India was a ‘strategic choice’ due to its similar demographics and Ghana truly wants to replicate the Indian story on telecom penetration.

Minister Ekuful said that India’s demographics are just like Ghana, the Jio model was rolled out just a few years ago, so the learnings are still fresh.

She further added that NGIC has been allocated 5G spectrum and local telcos will be utilising the shared infrastructure to roll out the services in the coming next six months. As per the reports, the overall contract signed values over $200 million.

“Ghana is a part of the 33-nation Smart Africa alliance and other countries in the continent that will be closely watching the rollout to see whether they can also emulate the same locally,” said Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.

Ekuful said that Indian vendors have not executed such deals in the past and why Ghana chose them over the Chinese suppliers. He explained, “It was a strategic choice for us. We don’t want to get caught up in any of the geopolitics that is currently going on. We want what is the best for our national interest.” She added that Ghana wants to leverage India’s experience in the field.

Chief Executive of Radisys – Arun Bhikshesvaran spoke on the deal and said, “Their communications platform and digital applications will help creating new digital applications that will help creating new digital experiences that empower the Ghanaian community and foster sustainable and inclusive development.”

He added to his statement that the lives of Ghanaians will be enhanced across various spheres including the education, healthcare and digital payments through the modern telecom network.

The minister of Ghana said that the country is looking at both the 4G and 5G networks and also satellite connectivity to deepen its telecom penetration and added that it is in talks with Elon Musk’s Starlink for the latter.

Notably, Jio’s rival in the local market Bharti Airtel is one of the most prominent mobile network operators in the African continent.