Western region community, Asemkrom means ‘Problem town’ and it has a problem.
Scrappy mobile network signals leaving residents ear squinting, shouting futile ‘hellos’ and desperate ‘hi’s in the town found in the Aowin District of the region.
This desperation is lessened somewhat by another form of desperation – climbing a tree for example.
A feat that rules out women, mothers and old men. The young men get a sturdy branch up there before beginning a conversation while paying attention to the unnaturalness of his compelled habitat.
Around an almond tree in the community, mobile phones, one of their most expensive investments, are balanced delicately on the tree, Joy News Western regional correspondent Ina-Thalia Quansah reported.
The owners would come and peer at the phone to check for a stronger signal and if not go away in somewhat temporary disappointment and return to try again.
The technological device has become the tree’s low hanging fruits.
Or there is also another option – a morbid option where residents visit the cemetery and tap by a tombstone for mobile network reception.
The reporter, Ina-Thalia Quansah could see a number of people in no mood for sorrow, pick their spot in the cemetery to carry on a conversation.
The cemetery is quite a distance from the community, she reported but distance is no much for desperation.
Not even the ghastly smell of death. “Feel the smell”, one resident Jeffery Anvo urged Joy News regional correspondent to breathe in the environment.
According to Jeffery, poor connectivity has always been the case since mobile phone revolution hit the country in 1992 with Mobitel.
“You can imagine when you want to call somebody in the night”, he conjured imagery of ghosts and mysterious lurking around of forgotten ancestors.
The connectivity problem is hurting Kwasi’s relationship with a woman he loves. She lives in Kumasi while he moved back to the community with the promise to keep in touch.
Photo: Kwasi says his relationship is on the ropes due to poor connectivity
That promise now looks ambitious. He told the reporter, his girlfriend wants to come over and visit. That should make up for the missed opportunities to get in touch.
But how to give her directions via the mobile phone is putting a poker in the plan.
The country’s four cellular networks have not been able to cram into the community yet.
The four networks are AirtelTigo, Glo, MTN, and Vodafone were fined a combined 34m cedis for failing some quality of service requirements.
The regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA) is millions richer but Asemkrom remains a connectivity poorer.
Ghana has an 87% mobile network coverage as at 2016 according to theglobaleconomy.com. The country is rated 122 in the world, several spots behind Guyana but serveral spots ahead of Gabon too.
But all Asemkrom residents want from telcos is a spot to make several calls. Without that, the people have to bear the deadly risk of climbing trees for a signal.
If someone falls to death – God forbid- he could be buried in the cemetery.
And days after, another person could pull up around his tombstone to do exactly what the one in the dust was trying to do – getting a mobile network signal.
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