Ghanaian mobile networks overwhelmed ahead of polls

Ghanaian mobile operators were overwhelmed by the massive traffic on their networks causing call interruptions to subscribers ahead of the country’s polls that takes place today

The three main mobile operators in the country, MTN, Tigo and Vodafone were the worst affected, as supporters of different political parties simultaneously put in calls marshalling up support for their candidates.

Wednesday was particularly not a very good day especially for MTN, the country’s telecom leader, as the leading political parties in the country, New Patriot Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), held their last minute rallies in Accra.

MTN apologized for the interruptions, promising that its network will be stable during the election period to allow seamless communication among voters.

Despite the promise, many subscribers still reported dropped calls and poor sound quality, forcing the country’s communication regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) to issue a directive stopping MTN Ghana from selling or adding new SIM cards in the network.

MTN responded saying that it is committed to the directive, and that it had decided to fast-track some technical projects that would ensure the network capacity is enhanced.

“A number of sites that were originally planned to be rolled out in 2013 have been brought forward to 2012 to enhance capacity and an emergency support plan has also been put in place,” MTN said. “We have also deepened collaboration with our partners to improve response time and a special crisis management team has been put in place to deal expeditiously with any crisis situation.”

With 11 million subscribers on its network representing 45 percent market share in Ghana’s telecom market, MTN was particularly affected as politicians and their supporters relied on mobile phones to communicate and organize political campaigns.

In Kenya, whose general elections are slated for March 4, 2012, many people are watching to see whether the major service providers will have braced themselves, as politicians and other stakeholders are already using the mobile networks to spread messages, apart from social media.

Posted in: Mobile

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