- The world's largest mobile phone service provider by sales, Vodafone, is at the brink of sealing a US$ 960 million deal with the government of Ghana today. Under the deal, Ghana government will sell 66.7 percent of Ghana Telecom's shares to the world mobile giant.
According to media reports, Vodafone officials had reportedly held exclusive talks with Ghana's Inter-Ministerial Committee on the deal and are now waiting to conclude the deal.
Last week, Ghana's Minister for State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning revealed that negotiations surrounding the privatisation of Ghana Telecom were waiting to be concluded end of June. Efforts to sell Ghana Telecom has been murmured since last year.
Anthony Akoto-Osei dismissed claims that potential investors have been put off by the privatisation process because of the price.
Communications Minister, Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, who said Vodafone was the only bidder in the race, was optimistic that a new owner would be announced this week.
Earlier this year, offers by France Telecom and Portugal Telecom were rejected by the government. The offers were rejected on grounds of under-value.
Under the privatisation regulations, the new owner is obliged to commit itself to tripling the company's mobile subscriber base within three years and undertake fixed-line network capacity increases.
Ghana Telecom operates the country's third-largest mobile carrier under Onetouch brand name, which has about 17 percent market share. It also sells fixed-line telephone service.
Only about 35 percent of Ghana's population of about 24 million has a mobile phone, according to Wireless Intelligence, a joint venture between the GSM Association and Ovum Holdings Ltd.
Ghana, which has already five existing mobile carriers, is Africa's eighth-largest mobile market in terms of number of mobile connections.
Vodafone is operating in other African countries. It holds a majority stake in Egyptian carrier, Vodafone Egypt and has a 40 percent stake of Safaricom in Kenya. The mobile giant also owns half of South Africa's Vodacom.
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