Mobile penetration: voice tops 133%, data crosses 73%


The latest Telecoms Subscription Report for the period ending March 2021, published by the National Communications Authority, indicates the total number of mobile voice subscriptions in Ghana was about 41.42 million, representing a mobile penetration of 133.14% against an estimated population of almost 31.11 million.

The figure also represents a 0.82% increase from February 2021’s figure of about 41.1 million.

Of the total, about 23 million are also mobile data subscriptions, representing a mobile data penetration rate of 73.73% for the period.

Out of the total, market leader and significant market power (SMP), MTN Ghana’s voice subscriptions stood at almost 23.4 million, representing some 0.68% increase from February 2021’s figure of 23.24 million. As a result, MTN’s market share for the month under review stood at 56.48%.

Vodafone’s mobile voice subscriptions also increased from 8.8 million as at the end of February 2021 to 8.92 million in March 2021. This represents a percentage increase of 1.45% and Vodafone’s market share for the period was 21.53%.

AirtelTigo’s voice subscriptions increased from 8.3 million as at the end of February 2021 to a little over 8.32 million as at the end of March 2021, indicating a percentage increase of 0.40%.

Their market share for the month under review, however, declined from 20.18% in February 2021 to 20.10% in March 2021.

Voice subscriptions of Glo increased from 766,596 as at the end of February 2021 to 784,761 at the end of March 2021. With a percentage increase of 2.37%, their total market share for the month under review was 1.89%.

Mobile Data 

On the mobile data side of things, MTN ended the month of March with 15,615,040 mobile data subscriptions, giving them a mobile data market share of about 68.5%.

Vodafone, on the other hand, finished the period with a total of about 3 million mobile data subscribers giving them a 13.1% market share in that space.

Meanwhile, AirtelTigo’s had a stronger showing the Vodafone on the mobile data front, with over 3.8 million subscribers representing a 16.73% market share.

At Glo, about half of the its subscriber, 382,650, are also mobile data customers and they represent 1.68% market share.

Fixed Lines and BWAs

Meanwhile, on the fixed telephony and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spaces, there would appear to be two runaway quasi-significant market powers enjoying dominance in those spaces.

The figures show the Vodafone Ghana continues to enjoy a whopping 98% of the fixed telephony space, and an equally significant 73.9% in the fixed data space.

MTN and AirtelTigo have shared the fixed voice crumbs between – 1.15% for AirtelTigo and a negligible 0.87% for MTN. But on the fixed data side, MTN enjoys the greater chunk of what Vodafone left, 25.32%, while AirtelTigo settles for an insignificant 0.79%.

Meanwhile, of the two BWAs captured on the report, Surfline and Telesol, the former stood out as the overwhelming dominant player with a market share of almost 96%, while Telesol could only manage with a meager 4%.

The other licensed BWA player, Blu Telecom and Broadband Home seem to have fizzled into thin air.


Some industry analysts are worried that the declaration of MTN as an SMP does not seem to have impacted positively on the other players within the ecosystem, as well widely expected.

On the contrary, MTN keeps strategizing around their current status and growing steadily, while the others in the ecosystem still remain largely in survival mode.

The NCA had initially proposed a number of policy interventions to put some breaks on MTN and allow the others to grow to some extent, but MTN managed to negotiate the interventions into just one, limited to asymmetrical interconnect rate.

Meanwhile, it would appear MTN is is rather taking advantage of its SMP status to strategize and become a complete digital operator by 2023, and eventually move on to become a platform player by 2025, offering its network as a service (NaaS) to other players in the ecosystem, rather than just a telecoms service provider.


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