Mukesh Ambani’s Africa plan: New ‘affordable’ telecom venture in Ghana

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Mukesh Ambani is set to enter Africa with a telecoms venture as he seeks to focus on mobile broadband customers. Bloomberg reported that a unit of Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd.- Radisys Corp- will provide key network infrastructure, applications and smartphones for Ghana-based Next-Gen InfraCo. Citing Harkirit Singh, the executive director of NGIC, the report claimed that the plans will be announced soon as the company will begin operations by the end of this year. 

Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd. Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai.(PTI)

NGIC will provide 5G broadband services to mobile operators and internet services providers in Ghana, he said, adding that the company “is based on a premise of building affordable digital services in emerging markets.”

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Partners in NGIC include Nokia Oyj, Tech Mahindra Ltd. and Microsoft Corp, as per the report. Ghana has three main operators: MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana and state-run AirtelTigo. Harkirit Singh said that NGIC’s strategic partners, its technological prowess and the company’s possession of Ghana’s only 5G license will help it build broadband services at scale which is a huge expense for individual mobile carriers.

Two African telecoms firms — Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET — hold a combined stake of 55% in the new company, he said while the Ghana government will own just under 10% of NGIC. He also said that NGIC has the exclusive right to offer 5G services in Ghana for a decade and the company’s capital expenditure for three years is $145 million.

Ghana’s Minister for Communications and Digitalization Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said in a statement that NGIC will provide “affordable mobile broadband services and devices to the people of Ghana, replicating the success of India’s low-cost mobile data revolution.”

Harkirit Singh said that none of the strategic partners, including Reliance, currently own any equity in NGIC. He explained, “First we have to be successful to show the value that we create before they come in. That’s the discussion we’re having with them.”

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