What the hell is going on Vodafone?

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 Source: The Catalyst

- Asks Dr. Kwame Osei

I have been compelled to write this article after a series of telephone malfunctions that have plagued the numerous radio stations up and down the country and for the need for Vodafone Ghana to buck up its operations or leave the country.

Despite not being on the original shortlist to acquire Ghana Telecom, Vodafone, a UK company now owned by Germans was controversially awarded the right to acquire 70% of Ghana Telecom (GT).

We were told at the time that one of the reasons why Ghana Telecom was sold was because of its inefficency and its ability to deliver good quality services to its customers and was in debt.

When Vodafone took control of GT, the Ghanaian consumer was promised a change and the pledge to deliver good quality services to the Ghanaian public and make the company more efficient.

More than 18 months on and the Ghanaian public are still waiting to see if these good quality services will manifest itself. Since coming to Ghana there have been some issues with Vodafone.

Apart from laying off many Ghanaians, Vodafone has not delivered in improvements to quality in service provision. For example there have been instances whereby some people who purchased Vodafone's internet USB have not had value for money.

Secondly Vodafone is amongst the most expensive tariffs that are available to the Ghanaian consumer- an example is that Vodafone Ghana charges 0.15 pesewas a minute for a call to all networks and landlines from its mobile network - this compares with MTN's 0.14 pesewas a minute and ZAIN Ghana's 0.12 pesewas minute meaning that it is fair to say that Vodafone Ghana is shortchanging the Ghanaian consumer.

Perhaps the biggest issue with Vodafone is the landlines’ and the inability of consumers to make calls on these landlines. Again in Vodafone's 70% acquisition of Ghana Telecom we were told that they would improve the landlines and that "experts" would help develop the fiber optic cables that help to enhance the quality of calls using landlines.

That said making calls via the landline has been very difficult and at times haphazard and no more does this inefficiency of Vodafone manifest itself than on the numerous radio stations as mentioned above.

In doing research for this article some of the stations in the Kumasi metropolis were monitored including JOY/LUV FM, FOX FM and Capital FM. In many occasions especially during the news program’s when the presenters were interviewing politicians and other guests the phone lines seem to either abruptly cut off in mid point or that there is immense difficulty establishing clear links to guests due to the poor quality of the line.

This is totally unacceptable because these radio stations are in business to deliver a professional service to their listeners and it is unacceptable when they are unable to achieve this due to the inability of Vodafone to improve the quality of the lines as it is their responsibility to ensure this happens when one makes a phone call.

Therefore what the above illustrates is that so far Vodafone has been unable to deliver the change and quality in service provision it promised and if this is not rectified sooner rather than later then the government of Ghana should take active steps to abrogate Vodafone's contract.

Columnist: The Catalyst