Ghana's second mobile operator, Kasapa Telecom, will launch the country's first CDMA network tonight. Kasapa Telecom, a subsidiary of Hutchison Telecom, signed a contract with ZTE Corporation back in July who has been responsible for constructing the nationwide digital network based on CDMA2000 technology, writes Mapara Syed.

"Our business focus is to offer affordable voice and SMS to our customers over a wide user area. The spectrum availability in Ghana meant that CDMA was always the right tool for us to achieve that focus due to its technical and financial advantages," explained Managing Director of Kasapa Telecom, Robert Palitz, on the decision to switch from analogue to CDMA.

"The costs in comparison to GSM are significantly less due to the inherent efficiencies of CDMA whereby less base stations are needed," added Palitz. "Therefore, in a country where mobile tariffs are still relatively high and telephony penetration is low, we will be able to provide greater coverage and cheaper rates."

The cost-effectiveness of the CDMA technology will result in no extra charges as Kasapa's rates remain the same. "This upgrade and our business plan does not require a change in our rates, which is presently around half of what the other GSM operators offer," said Palitz.

Palitz went on to say that although their customers can now benefit from data functionalities Kasapa Telecom would not be using their funds to introduce new platforms for a niche market of data users.