Vodafone Shuns High Cable Theft Areas

Kyle Whitehill – CEO of Vodafone

Vodafone Ghana has indicated it would no more invest in communities where its communication gadgets and underground cables have been stolen.

Tagging such places as ‘no go’ areas, the company said it would spend money to improve communication in communities that were prepared to proffer protection and surveillance at its installations.

Kyle Whitehill, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, who disclosed this to journalists in Accra recently during a tour of some of his outfit’s sites, said perpetrators of the act include unscrupulous contractors and former employees who have an agenda to sabotage the company’s efforts at expanding coverage to effectively serve its customers.

Vodafone Ghana’s fixed underground mega cables, which were mostly the target of the thieves, could carry about 2,500 smaller cables each representing a customer.

In August, this year, the company lost 34 of its mega cables as a result of the activities of thieves.

About 28 percent of Vodafone Ghana’s installations which are dotted around the country are susceptible to theft, and this has resulted in about 2,000 customers being denied fixed line services for close to a month.

Certain places in Tamale, according to Mr Whitehill, have been designated as ‘no go’ areas because such areas are inhabited by hardened criminals.

At these places, the presence of the police does not scare criminals who cut and steal the company’s cables.

Mr Whitehill stated that the thieves steal the mega cables because they are expensive on the market.

The company loses close to GH¢2 million every year as a result of cable theft and damage by road construction companies.

In order to avert the activities of thieves, Mr Whitehill said Vodafone Ghana had invested in new technology which is commonly referred to as Multi Service Access Nodes (M-SANs).

Expected to provide high speed internet browsing, the cost to the telecommunications company is GH¢50 million.

About 60 percent of Vodafone’s fixed line subscribers have currently been migrated to the new technology pending the migration of the rest (40 percent) of customers.

Some four years ago, Vodafone Ghana could only boast of 5,000 fixed broadband customers. Today, as many as 79,000 customers enjoy the service.

The company recently capped its internet service at GH¢65 from GH¢45 previously due to the activities of some high internet users who account for just 1 percent of broadband users.

Such developments have led to slow internet traffic and disappointing service at times.

 By Samuel Boadi