Telecommunication giant MTN Ghana has said damages to and theft of its fibre-optic cables over a period of five months, from October 2018 to February 2019, led to a revenue loss of about GH₵39million.
The development means an estimated GH₵17.5million that would have gone to the state in the form of regulatory fees and tax payments could not be realised. However, it said, a total of GH₵1.48billion was paid to the state to cover both taxes and regulatory fees last year.
At the moment, the company said it records 149 fibre-cuts in a month as against 50 a month some two years ago.
The impact of fibre-cuts, according to the Corporate Services Executive-MTN Mr. Sam Koranteng, goes beyond the estimated revenue loss if its effect on local businesses is also considered.
He observed that given the importance of technology and the commitment to bridge the Internet gap while leveraging emerging technology to address socio-economic issues, among others, any disruptions to telecommunication services come with multiple implications on the economy’s various sectors.
For instance, he said: “In terms of the platforms and services we provide, they impact education, health, insurance as well as national and individual security”.
Road construction, as well as some utility service activities, were observed to be among the main causes which often lead to some of these damages.
Mr. Koranteng said there are engagements ongoing with the security agencies to try and identify institutions/people who are involved in the fibre-cuts – adding that once enough evidence is gathered and there is something that can be put to the court for prosecution, they will consider it in order to address this challenge.
However, he also stated that MTN continues to engage some of the stakeholders whose activities also cause damage to its fibre-optic cables to let them know about the impact of this destruction and how it can be avoided.
The telecommunications giant said it has earmarked about US$160million of investments for expansion and improvement projects in the country this year. These include fibre-optic broadband coverage expansion; 350 new greenfield and 100 rural sites developments; and existing sites’ capacity upgrades among others.
Already, an investment of over GH₵825million in network technology and IT systems was undertaken last year, 2018, which is believed to have contributed among others to achieving over 23.5% in Service Revenue growth year-on-year.
With its “10 years of driving financial inclusion”, the company also revealed that it made about GH₵139million interest payments to over 8 million customers of their mobile money services, from 2016 to 2018.
Additionally, it recently paid an amount of GH₵17.1million to 10,630 175 customers as interest earned for quarter 1, 2019.
This brings to over GH₵ 156.2million interest paid to Mobile Money customers from the inception of interest payment in 2016 to March 2019.
The product was launched in 2009 and now has 13 million registered subscribers, and also provides some direct and indirect employment to over 112,000 active agents nationwide and over 5,000 merchants.
These were made known during a press engagement in Kumasi with some MTN executives. The occasion was also used to launch ‘MTN Ashantifest 2019’.
The event seeks to celebrate customers of the network in the region, and will hopefully be used to officially inaugurate a number of projects undertaken in the Ashanti Region among others.