K-NET unveils services in rural Ghana

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Haruna Iddrisu, Ghana’s Minister of Communications, has inaugurated ten mobile communication towers in rural areas in Ghana, built by K-NET Ltd and providing service on the Tigo network.

Speaking at one of the sites in Botoku in the Volta Region, Iddrisu commended both K-NET and Tigo for their initiative, together with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) who funded the project.

Iddrisu also said that he expected that the advent of these facilities in the rural areas will attract investors and open up more business opportunities and enhance teaching and learning in schools.

K-NET Limited, one of Ghana’s leading network solutions provider operating throughout Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa, together with strategic partners Altobridge, Ameresco Solar, iDirect and Tigo, is bringing first-time mobile voice and data connectivity to rural communities in Ghana and beyond. K-NET and its partners have developed a highly innovative solution which is optimised for rural applications and reduces the total costs of ownership by up to 65% compared to a conventional solution, meaning that rural communities with relatively low population densities of less than 1,500 people may now be served profitably by the mobile network operators. Each communication tower can serve an area of up to 300 Km2, potentially covering several townships. Currently 143,000Km2 (60%) of the land area and 5 million of the population (20%) of Ghana have no mobile coverage.

The ten rural communication towers implemented to date by K-NET have experienced substantial levels of traffic and very strong growth of more than 25% since the last one was completed at the end of July 2012. Some of the towers are now carrying more than 250,000 minutes of voice traffic each month, and more than 15,000 SMS messages.

The K-NET- led partnership to develop the low-cost solution includes the provision of a 2G or 3G Base Station Subsystem by Altobridge, the provision of a Solar Power Solution by Ameresco Solar, the provision of satellite communication equipment by iDirect, together with the mobile network operator Tigo.

In addition to the turnkey system integration, K-NETuses its state-of-the-art Teleport at McCarthy Hill in Accra to provide the communication links between each remote site and the central switching network of the mobile operator, Tigo. K-NET provides the network management and the operations and maintenance services for the network. The advanced BSS equipment from Altobridge optimises capacity for the rural environment and reduces power consumption to less than one twentieth (5%) of a conventional implementation. This enables a highly-efficient solar-based power system from Ameresco Solar to be used, which offers substantially lower running costs than a conventional power system with diesel generator backup.