Vodafone optimistic about operations despite challenges –Regional CEO

Yolanda Cuba(middle), speaking at the event

Yolanda Cuba(middle), speaking at the event

Vodafone says it is optimistic about its operations in Ghana despite the many changes and challenges that need to be addressed in the sector.

It said Ghana is a country on the move and with the support of the public authorities; Vodafone can help lead the digital progress for the country and customers.

“We are very optimistic about the future and the dynamics under the leadership of the management we are optimistic even though there are many changes and challenges we need to address around the sector,” Vivek Badrinath, Vodafone Regional CEO for Africa, Middle East, Asia-Pacific said in an interview with a section of the media in Accra.

He said Vodafone was ready to meet the growing competition in the telecommunications sector and that it was ready to overcome that with customer service.

Mr  Badrinath said it would continue to play a significant role in the economy as it has done in the past 10 years, providing employment directly and indirectly to over 500,000 people.

He said the company would continue into the future to be relevant to Ghana and would be one of the companies that matter.

“We want to be the centre of innovation, bringing new services and have the opportunity to sell more data and hope all the spectrum questions would be behind us,” he said.

“We would have capacity to serve customers with data and internet of things and I believe that there are a lot of things that can help improve society, corporations, public service like utilities to ensure less wastage and better efficiency,” he said.

“So will be strong in the advise side and bring solutions and on theconsumer’s side bringing services and reducing cost,” he added.

On Vodafone’s 10 years anniversary, Mr Badrinath  said a lot of investments had been done in the business and is growing and progressing while the brand is well regarded by customers.

He said the investment had led to significant fundings into the business and that is one of the points being addressed with our partner shareholder government.

However, he said it is time Vodafone manage to get onto the 4G bandwagon to be able to compete and utilise the efficiency of the 4G technology to deliver superior services to clients at a better cost.

“We would like to do 4G and we think it is good for the country. It is good because more and more devices are 4G enabled,” he said.

In this direction, Vodafone is in discussion with the government and awaiting their response on the issue of spectrum.

“The reasonable cost for spectrum is in the public interest because while you spent money on spectrum you also need to invest money in deployment. So the more a spectrum is at an accessible cost the easier it will be for the company to deploy quickly,” he said.

On discussions with the government on debt restructuring, he said Vodafone and government agreed that it has to happen.

“So we are going through that process in open and transparent manner and in a friendly way with government and that is a proper way to go about it because this is a company that needs a strong balance sheet to grow and government and ourselves realised that this needs to be addressed,” he said.

Ms Yolanda Cuba said fibre cuts was a major concern to Vodafone as it leads to slow connections and cuts away communities from being reached out too.

She said vandalism was not acceptable and urged the communities that benefit from telecommunication infrastructure to help police it.

In December 2015, the telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA) auctioned two blocks of 800MHz bands of LTE Spectrum at a reserve price of US$67.5m and invited telecom companies to bid.

However, only one company participated in the auction for one block at the reserve price; whilst the others abstained.

Vodafone was emphatic at the time that the spectrum was overpriced and has, since, been in talks with government to reach an appreciable price in order to access the remaining block.

Despite several engagements and arrangements submitted to the regulator on the way forward, the matter is still a long way off from being resolved.

By David Adadevoh

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