Ghana’s first 4G LTE network, Surfline Communications has installed 220 cell sites to cover the whole of Accra as it takes off, with cell sites positioned between 450 meters and 1 kilometer apart.
This, according to the company, is to ensure smooth transition and high quality reception even while the user is in motion.
Marketing Director of Surfline Ghana, Rosy Fynn told a select group of News Editors there were other 4G LTE networks already operating on the continent but with much fewer cell sites and lesser coverage areas.
“We currently have deployed 220 sites which is the largest single deployment of cell sites in Africa. Other 4G LTE companies that have launched in Africa, such as Smile in Tanzania, Yoomee in Cameroun and Swift in Nigeria, all launched with much fewer cell sites. Yoomee, for example, launched with just about 20 sites,” she said.
Beside the relatively large number of cell sites and wide coverage area, Surfline has also bought bandwidth from two wholesalers, MainOne and GLO-1, and are currently working on getting more bandwidth from a third wholesaler to ensure it had enough redundant capacity to accommodate more customers as and when they come onboard.
The company said it has employed the services of the best companies in the industry as technology partners to build and manage various aspects of the network while ensuring the highest quality of service.
The main LTE network infrastructure such as the Core Network, and eNodeB’s at the various sites were manufactured and installed by Alcatel Lucent (ALU), which has also been contracted to manage the network.
“We got lesser quotations from other companies but we chose ALU because we want the best for our customers. That is just the culture of Surfline and of our founder, John Taylor,” Rosy Fynn said.
IBM provided the IT hardware infrastructure to support the LTE network. It is providing a high performance vertical and horizontal scalable technology platform, which would support both the current and projected future computing needs.
According to Ms. Fynn, “The IBM cloud solution will aid Surfline in optimizing its technology costs, improve operational efficiency and achieve better return on investment.”
Tech Mahindra has partnered with the Surfline team to develop and manage IT service capabilities required for the LTE rollout throughout Ghana.
Asked how many customers the network is ready to take for starters, the company said "we are confident that we have the capacity to meet the needs of all customers that will join Surfline. As more customers join Surfline, we will continue to increase our capacity to ensure they continue to get good quality service."
Meanwhile, the company has employed over 150 people, about 99 per cent of whom are Ghanaians, including customer service executives.
Ms. Fynn explained the decision to employ many customer service persons was to ensure they imbibed the Surfline culture of seeking the best interest of the customers.
Beyond the measures to ensure best customer relations, the company said it has also built a zero rated website, which would allow customers to browse even with zero airtime and to buy airtime online with a valid credit or debit card as well as accessing customer care online.
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