Sunday, March 3, 2013

Issues with mobile Internet connectivity in Ghana

With the widespread of mobile telephony in Africa, access to mobile broadband Internet through mobile devices such as smart phones and mobile phones, 3G modems/USB wireless modems and other portable modems, is no longer an issue. I love to access the Internet on my laptop (large screen) and I have 3G modems for Ghana (country of residence) and three other countries (Kenya, South Africa and Zambia) that I visit regularly during the year. This arrangement ensures that I am guaranteed access to the Internet whenever I am in any one of these four countries.

In South Africa, I use Vodacom mobile Internet service. I have been using the service for almost three years now. I have no complaints with the service. Whenever I am in the country, I purchase a pre-paid 1GIG data plan for about US$28 and I have instant access to the Internet. I can Skype with the video facility on, and download watch music videos YouTube without encountering any problems. I once (in 2012) used my modem to link up a colleague who was Rome, Italy and he delivered a paper presentation to conference participants via Skype (with video), and on two occasions followed training sessions on Adobe Connect. The connections are flawless.

Kenya is my second home. In the last 10 years, I have been to Nairobi more than 100 times. While in Kenya, I use Safaricom broadband Internet services. Pre-paid 1GIG data plan costs me about US$11.50. The service is reliable and I have never had any complaints.  I am always able connect to the Internet. In 2011, I used the service to connect, via Skype (with video) and take part in the presentation of a PhD research proposal by a student I was co-supervising at the University of New York, Albany.

In Zambia, my birth country I use the services of Airtel. 1GIG of pre-paid data plan costs me about US$25.50. The speed of the Internet connection on Airtel modem is no comparable to that of Vodacom SA or Safaricom in Kenya. However, I am able to do access, read and send email. I avoid using Skype or downloading large files.

In Ghana, I have issues with mobile broadband Internet access. This is evidenced by the fact that I currently have three different broadband modems, for Airtel, Glo and MTN, in addition to iBurst Ghana modem, which unfortunately could only allow me to connect to the Internet when I in certain parts of the house. From iBurst I migrated to Airtel and in the beginning, everything worked well. Along the way, the connection started to get slow and frustrating. Well, Ghana is one of the few countries in Africa with more than five mobile phone service providers. So I have a wide choice and migrated to MTN.  Everyone I asked told me that MTN mobile Internet service was the best. Unfortunately, it was not meant for me. The service failed me when I urgently wanted to send a 300K PDF document (class assignment). The time was about 21H50, and I needed to send the document before 20H00. It was not to be. The 300K document only went through at about 20H05 and cost me marks (deducted for submitting the assignment late). I instantly dumped MTN and went for Glo (Globalcom), then the “new boy” (if not new
girl) on the block.

The first week of using Glo Internet services was great. The speed was super. Nine months down the line, things are no longer the same. Just the other day it took me about 30 minutes to access my office email. When trying to publish this post, I spent over 40 minutes trying to access without any success. I guess Glo is telling me that it is time to migrate to another service provider. I have Tigo and Expresso, the remaining two mobile phone service providers in the country whose mobile internet services I am yet to try. 

Viva Vodacom SA and Safaricom!


  1. Wow, I thought I was the only one with a collection of dongles sitting in my drawer! I started off with OneTouch - but that didn't work well (even thought it cost about GH¢200+ at the time!), but maybe it was my laptop? Then to iBurst, but that didn't work too well, so I changed to Airtel. And that was so slow, I switched to MTN. And after the signal kept dropping every minute or so over Christmas I decided to go with Glo, though loading credit is a big pain!

  2. Indeed, loading credit on Glo is a pain. I hope that they will sort it out. I am about to switch to Expresso. Last week I was at the airport on my way to Addis Ababa when I tried to use my Glo dongle. I could not connect to the internet. Yet my colleague who was using Expresso was able to do so.

  3. Whew! 30 minutes just to check your office email? That must have been a drag, Justin. Slow internet connections do plague you, especially for some jobs you need to do using the internet. Have you considered checking with your provider? I hope you were able to fix the problem.

    Thelma Osborne @ T Link BroadBand

  4. This article is very informative, thanks for sharing ! such a great information with us Best Internet Service Provider in Ghana Wide Area Network in Ghana .

  5. This article is very informative, thanks for sharing ! such a great information with us Best Internet Service Provider in Ghana Wide Area Network in Ghana .

  6. Hope you have started using the Expresso modem? That is what I use and I think it is the best so far.

  7. I think this issue is common issue in Ghana. There is a problem about mobile internet.