Ghana resists exclusive 5G deal with Indian billionaire Ambani

A deal for Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s second-richest man to capitalize on the demand for 5G wireless services in Ghana is facing opposition from the country’s parliamentary minority, who have criticized the administration for rushing into a "sweetheart deal."

Ghana resists exclusive 5G deal with Indian Billionaire Ambani
  • Parliamentary minority in Ghana opposes 5G deal with Asia’s second-richest man
  • NDC stated that the Ghanaian government’s plan to launch a 5G network in partnership with Mukesh Ambani's company is disadvantageous for the debt-ridden country.
  • Ghana’s government has set an ambitious target to digitally connect the entire country over the next six years.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) stated that the Ghanaian government’s plan to launch a 5G network in partnership with Mukesh Ambani's company is disadvantageous for the debt-ridden country, which requires funds for essential development projects.

The minority caucus stated that the West African nation could have generated between $400 million and $500 million upfront if the government had opted for a formal bidding process, Bloomberg reported.

Instead, they claim, the administration awarded a contract to the company Next Gen Infraco for $125 million, paid in annual instalments over 10 years.

“The NDC caucus in Parliament holds the view that at a time that the country is in dire need of foreign exchange and non-tax revenue, it is unconscionable that the government will hand over the precious and highly sought-after 5G spectrum of the country to a shell company for a pittance,” the caucus said.

Under the terms of the deal, Radisys Corp., a unit of Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd., will provide network infrastructure, applications and smartphones for Ghana-based NGIC. The deal gives NGIC and its strategic partners exclusive control over Ghana’s only 5G license for a decade.

Other partners in NGIC include Nokia Oyj, Indian outsourcer Tech Mahindra Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. Two lesser-known African telecom firms — Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET — hold a combined stake of 55% in the new company. The Ghanaian government owns roughly 10%.

Ghana’s government has set an ambitious target to digitally connect the entire country over the next six years. With a population of just over 33 million, Ghana has three main operators: MTN Ghana, Telecel Ghana and AT, which changed its name from AirtelTigo last year.

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