Reasons Why Ghanaians Pay A Lot For Internet Data

Ghanaians continue to pay more for mobile internet data despite the huge subscription rates in the last few years.

Mobile data subscription in Ghana grew from 10.6 million in 2013 with six service providers to about 20 million in January 2017 with 9 service providers.

“Notwithstanding, consumer price for data is still not affordable for all income groups…” a recent report by policy think tank IMANI Ghana stated adding that “a lot more work needs to be done by the government if Ghana is to achieve the United Nations' sustainable development Goal 9 of universal, affordable Internet access by 2020.”

The Alliance for Affordable Internet, defines affordable Internet as 1GB for less than 2% of average monthly income.

This target takes into account poverty and income inequality in most countries.

In its 2017, the alliance in its Internet Affordability report, stated that Ghanaians spend an average of 3.89% of income on 1GB of data per month.

According to IMANI Ghana, “This clearly shows internet is still not affordable to all income groups.”

The report titled: “Why you are paying so much for broadband Internet and what should be done about it” while explaining why internet data is comparatively high in Ghana also made recommendations on how government could reduce data tariffs yet making enough revenue.

“First, the Government should take the unpopular option to reduce the price of 800MHz spectrum to reflect the true market value. The market value of 4G spectrum can be estimated by modelling the business case of potential bidders and setting well defined auction rules for price discovery.

This path will efficiently allocate spectrum to other Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to provide 4G services to their customers and still raise sufficient revenue for the government directly…”

“Secondly, the NCA needs to review its licensing regime (migrate to unified license which is technology neutral) and develop a clear policy guideline that would encourage spectrum sharing among telecommunication operators just like the case of infrastructure sharing to deliver quality and affordable services to customers. It should be feasible for MNOs to partner Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) license holders to roll out 4G Internet across the country faster,” the report among other things added.

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