#FreeTheData: Ghanaian Telcos Need To Start Focusing On Better Data Deals For Consumers

I visited the UK recently for a couple of weeks of holiday. It was a very welcoming experience. I’m always lamenting on the quality of services in Ghana when it comes to technology services and other things related to the tech space. London helped to provide relief for all my tech ramblings.

Firstly, getting a SIM card for my smartphone was a breeze. I walked into a Three (3) store and asked for a Prepaid SIM card. They gave me two options:

£10 for 1GB, 100 minutes and 3000 text messages 

OR

£20 for 12GB, 300 minutes and 3000 text messages

Of course, I jumped at the 12GB plan. 12GB of data for £20 for 30 days is a good deal.  Oh, and it’s 4G LTE as well.

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Three Telco

On MTN, if I wanted to get a similar price plan, I would paying 120 GHC for 10GB for 45 days. Paying 120 GHC for a mobile data plan is a bit on the high side. But if I was really paying for data I wanted to use, I would be paying 40GHC for a 2.5GB data bundle.

At the Three store, I didn’t have to go through the process of ID card and all that other stuff. I asked for a SIM, paid £20 and was on my way.

It worked pretty well. Never had a problem with speed or bad coverage. Basically, my mind was at ease. I can’t say the same when I’m in Ghana when my phone keeps showing I’m on EDGE when I’m in a popular area (I’m looking at you East Legon!)

Riding On Waves Of Awesome Internet Bandwidth

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The amount of frustrations I go through when dealing with broadband in Ghana can be overwhelming and stressful sometimes. Our internet overloads, namely Vodafone, keep jacking up broadband prices without reason and yet people (like me) don’t good enough service.

In London where I was staying with some family, I found out their internet provider offers them a bundle deal. Basically they offer broadband internet, TV and telephone deals. The estimated price is around £34-£40 a month.

And it’s pretty fast! I was getting speeds around 20Mbps to 35Mps. Broadband speeds with Vodafone averages around 4Mpbs to 5Mps.

Of course, I’m not trying to compare internet speeds between UK and Ghana. I’m actually looking at price points.

If I’m paying for just broadband in London, it could cost me about £16-£17 and I get 35Mps. If I’m paying for broadband in Ghana, I’m paying about 125GHC for 40GB.

Before I forget, the UK service provider offers unlimited broadband. Believe me, I checked their terms and conditions. It’s unlimited. No hidden anything.

What I felt in the UK was a complete freedom from anxiety when dealing with internet and worrying about finishing up my data. I didn’t worry about home internet or mobile data when I was roaming around.

What Is Your Service Provider Offering?

I’m not satisfied with Vodafone’s broadband. It’s a bit high priced in the age of the internet where streaming and downloading is becoming the norm. Netflix is available in Ghana but I don’t know many people who are interested in streaming because it will totally eat up their data. If you’re a binge watcher, you’ll need about 100GB – 200GB. That means you’ll need to cough up about 180GHC – 200GHC.

Unfortunately, you’re not getting better deals elsewhere. Surfline 4G has premium prices and all those internet providers don’t really have good reputations from what I heard.

Mobile providers seem to be focusing on all kinds of deals. Some offer social media data packages and a bunch of other offerings which I don’t see as attractive. That’s just my opinion.

Just give me data at a cheap price. That’s it. All these social media bundles and other stuff become mute.

We’re in a data driven tech world and data is king. I bought 12GB of data from Three network in the UK for 30 days. I only used about 2GB for the couple of weeks I spent there. I would have used at least 4GB of data if I stay for a month, far less than the 12GB I purchased. But the option to have all that data was too good to pass up.

I never worried about running out of data, I used Snapchat WAY TOO much and it didn’t even leave a dent in my data. I felt like a person at a restaurant where they serve all you can have data and I couldn’t even finish all the food on my plate.

More Data, Cheaper Prices

It’s great that we have so many operators competing with each other, constantly offering different packages and services. I’m hoping that their next generation of offerings focuses on better data deals. If I could get 4GB of mobile data and pay only 10 – 15GHC, that’s a bargain and best believe, I’m signing up for that.

I believe the telcos will be working on that. My reservation is with broadband. We need better and cheaper services from those providers. The only reason I don’t use Netflix for streaming is because the price for large amounts of broadband data is high. Believe me, I binge watch all my shows and stream tons of content. If you point me to a reliable broadband service provider with cheap rates, I’m willing to open up my Xbox account and start online multiplayer again using their service.

Only time will tell when the price point for data comes down and we can enjoy streaming content like the rest of the world without worrying about exhausting our data.

Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.

I’m also a UX Designer, book reader, and tech enthusiast (duh!)

Email: [email protected]

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