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Minister Defends Award Of 5G Contract To Consortium

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Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Ghana’s Minister of Communications and Digitalization, has defended the government’s decision to award the 5G network implementation contract to a newly established company, NextGen InfraCo.

NextGen InfraCo, founded just a week before securing the contract, was specifically formed to address the nation’s need for a specialized infrastructure provider capable of efficiently deploying 5G technology.

Owusu-Ekuful explained that the decision to bypass a traditional auction process stemmed from the challenges encountered during Ghana’s 4G rollout, where only 15% nationwide penetration was achieved since 2015.

She emphasized the government’s commitment to avoiding similar setbacks by proactively selecting NextGen InfraCo, a move aligned with strategic policies aimed at accelerating 5G deployment.

Investigative queries raised concerns about fairness, particularly as the contract was not competitively bid upon. However, the government stressed the importance of its collaboration with industry leaders to form Next-Gen Infrastructure Company (NGIC), comprising Ascend Digital, K-NET, Radisys, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, AT Ghana, and Telecel Ghana.

With a 5G license in hand, NGIC plans to launch 5G services across Ghana within six months, with broader aspirations to extend its reach across Africa. The collaboration aims to revolutionize digital services in healthcare, education, and finance, fostering financial inclusion and bridging the digital divide.

Tech Mahindra’s involvement underscores the ambition to provide cutting-edge digital solutions to both enterprise and consumer markets. Ultimately, the goal is to replicate successful digital paradigms, starting with Ghana and expanding throughout Africa.

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