Home Business Billionaire Mukesh Ambani eyes Africa with new telecom venture in Ghana.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani eyes Africa with new telecom venture in Ghana.

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Reliance Industries Ltd., led by Billionaire Mukesh Ambani, is expanding into Africa through NGIC, a Ghanaian telecoms firm offering 5G broadband, with strategic alliances including Nokia, Tech Mahindra, and Microsoft.

Mukesh Ambani, the wealthiest individual in Asia, plans to venture into Africa with a telecoms endeavor, aiming to attract mobile broadband users in a rapidly growing market.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani
Image Source: Club of Mozambique

Radisys Corp., a Reliance Industries Ltd. subsidiary overseen by Ambani, will furnish essential network infrastructure, applications, and smartphones for Ghana’s Next-Gen InfraCo., as stated by Harkirit Singh, NGIC’s executive director. Singh outlined the strategies prior to NGIC’s unveiling on Monday in Mumbai, India’s financial center. NGIC aims to commence operations by year-end, offering 5G broadband to Ghana’s mobile operators and internet service providers.

Singh informed Bloomberg News that the company “is founded on the principle of creating economical digital services in developing regions.”

NGIC’s other strategic collaborators comprise Nokia Oyj, Tech Mahindra Ltd., and Microsoft Corp., which has intensified its concentration on the telecoms sector after acquiring two cloud networking enterprises in 2020.

Singh stated that Ghana, a West African nation with a population exceeding 33 million, hosts three primary operators: MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, and state-managed AirtelTigo. NGIC’s strategic partnerships, technological expertise, and exclusive possession of Ghana’s sole 5G license will aid in establishing broadband services on a large scale, which typically incurs substantial costs for individual mobile carriers. 

Singh noted that Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET, two African telecoms companies, jointly hold a 55% stake in the new entity. The Ghanaian government will possess just under 10% of NGIC, while local mobile operators and private investors will retain the remaining shares. Additionally, Singh serves as the CEO of Ascend.

NGIC holds exclusive rights to provide 5G services in Ghana for a decade, with a license validity of 15 years. Singh states the company’s capital expenditure for three years amounts to $145 million.

The company aims to replicate the success of Ambani’s Jio Infocomm Ltd. in India. Jio debuted telecom services in late 2016 in India, offering inexpensive data and free voice calls, prompting closures of some rivals and mergers among others. It’s widely acknowledged for rendering mobile data affordable to hundreds of millions of Indians. Jio presently stands as India’s largest mobile operator with 470 million users.

Ghana’s Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, stated that NGIC will offer “cost-effective mobile broadband services and devices to Ghanaian citizens, mirroring India’s achievement in the low-cost mobile data revolution.”

The partnership between Reliance and NGIC is also viewed as a diplomatic victory for India, aiming to counter China’s growing influence in Africa through initiatives like digital inclusion.

Singh clarified that none of the strategic partners, including Reliance, presently hold any equity in NGIC. However, the company intends to offer them the option to receive a portion of their payments as equity in the future.

“We must first demonstrate our success and the value we generate before they consider participation,” Singh explained. “That’s the ongoing conversation.” 

This story has been sourced from a wire agency feed and remains unaltered in its content, with only the headline being modified.

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