Two of the country’s biggest mobile telecommunications companies, Scancom Ghana Limited and Millicom Ghana, operators of MTN and tiGO respectively, are gradually losing their grip on the top as market leaders in the industry.
Latest industry statistics on the National Communications Authority (NCA) official website revealed that the market share of MTN, which stood at 50.7 per cent in January this year, had dropped to 49.09 per cent as of the end of June this year, dipping further to 48.75 per cent at the end of July.
The new phenomenon is in spite of the fact that the company’s total subscriber base increased from 8,869,254 in January to 9,562,264 in June this year and again to 9,655,538 the following month as it gradually inches towards its 10 millionth subscriber.
Total subscriber base of all the operators in the country now stands at 19,527,675, representing 79.1 per cent of the population of 24.3 as of July this year from 17,436,896 (71.5 per cent) in January this year.
Millicom Ghana’s tiGO, also saw a drop in its market share from 22.18 per cent in January to 21.06 per cent in June and further to 20.94 per cent by close of July.
However, the company’s subscriber base of 3,928,908 in January increased to 4,102,156 in June and 4,147,105 in July the same year.
Third place Vodafone, from the statistics, seem to be the only operator which is fast closing up particularly on its second placed rival, tiGO, having increased its market share from 15.87 per cent in January to 17.59 per cent in June and to 18.08 per cent in July this year.
In terms of subscriber base, Vodafone managed to move its customer base from 2,810,487 in January 2011 to 3,426,095 in June and 3,577,563 in July this year.
Although Airtel is yet to record its two millionth subscriber, its performance in terms of market share is threatening the position of the top two.
Airtel increased its share of the market from 1,583,573 subscribers, representing 8.94 per cent in January this year to 1, 88,332, representing 9.69 per cent in June and again to 1,928,179 representing 9.74 per cent.
The woes of the fifth placed mobile company, Expresso, seem to be worsening since the company changed its brand name from Kasapa, after a change of ownership.
Total subscribers on the Expresso network dropped from 244,674 in January 2011 (1.36 per cent) to 220,290 (1.13 per cent) in June and further to 219,290 (1.11 per cent) in July this year.
It is, however, not immediately clear whether the implementation of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP), which gives subscribers the choice to move from one network to another without losing their numbers, has any impact on the company’s performance and that of the industry in general.
On the other hand, the telecom companies are yet to respond to the statistics posted by the NCA.
However, MTN, for instance, has upped its game in the market by offering the lowest call rate at certain times of the day to keep its customers.
Between 9:00.p.m. and midnight, call charges are as low as Ghp 1 and it is virtually free after midnight until 8:00.a.m. the following day.
Vodafone, Airtel and tiGO have also released new call rates and packages that are meant to entice existing customers and to attract new ones through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP).