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Mukesh Ambani faces opposition in Ghana for exclusive 5G deal

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In Short:

Opposition in Ghana’s parliament is against a deal for Mukesh Ambani to launch a 5G network in partnership with Next Gen Infraco. The Ghanaian government is accused of rushing into a bad deal, which could have generated more revenue through a formal bidding process. The exclusive deal gives NGIC control over Ghana’s only 5G license for a decade. The aim is to digitally connect the entire country in the next six years.

By Loni Prinsloo and Moses Mozart Dzawu

Opposition to 5G Deal in Ghana

A deal involving Asia’s second-richest man, Mukesh Ambani, to capitalize on the demand for 5G wireless services in Ghana is facing opposition from the country’s parliamentary minority. The opposition party has criticized the government for rushing into what they call a “sweetheart deal”.

Concerns Raised by National Democratic Congress

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Ghana has raised concerns about the government’s plan to launch a 5G network in partnership with a company associated with Mukesh Ambani. The NDC believes that the deal is unfavorable for the nation, which is in need of funds for critical development projects. They argue that the government could have generated more funds through a formal bidding process, as opposed to the current contract with Next Gen Infraco.

The NDC caucus in Parliament expressed disappointment stating, “it is unconscionable that the government will hand over the precious and highly sought-after 5G spectrum of the country to a shell company for a pittance”.

Key Details of the Deal

Under the terms of the deal, Radisys Corp., a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd. controlled by Ambani, will provide network infrastructure, applications, and smartphones for Next Gen Infraco in Ghana. The agreement grants exclusive control of Ghana’s only 5G license to NGIC and its strategic partners for a decade.

Partners in NGIC include Nokia Oyj, Tech Mahindra Ltd., and Microsoft Corp., with Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET holding a majority stake in the company. The Ghanaian government retains a 10% ownership.

Ambitious Digital Connectivity Goals

Ghana aims to replicate the success of Ambani’s Jio Infocomm Ltd. in India by digitally connecting the entire country over the next six years. With a population of over 33 million, Ghana currently has three main operators in the telecom sector.

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