Tech n' Biz

Mukesh Ambani’s Telecom Venture Set to Enter Ghanaian Market

Radisys Corp. to provide key infrastructure for Ghana-based Next-Gen InfraCo, aiming to revolutionize mobile broadband in West Africa.

India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani is set to enter Africa with a telecoms venture, seeking to win mobile broadband customers in a high-growth market. Radisys Corp., a unit of Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd., will provide key network infrastructure, applications, and smartphones for Ghana-based Next-Gen InfraCo (NGIC), according to Harkirit Singh, the executive director of NGIC. He described the plans ahead of NGIC’s launch announcement on Monday in Mumbai, India’s financial hub.

File photo of Mukesh Ambani | Pankaj Nangia | Bloomberg
File photo of Mukesh Ambani | Pankaj Nangia | Bloomberg

NGIC, which is planning to begin operations by the end of this year, will provide 5G broadband services to mobile operators and internet service providers in Ghana.

The company “is based on a premise of building affordable digital services in emerging markets,” Singh told Bloomberg News.

Other strategic partners in NGIC include Nokia Oyj, Indian outsourcer Tech Mahindra Ltd., and Microsoft Corp., which has increasingly sharpened its focus on the telecoms business following an acquisition of two cloud networking firms in 2020.

Two African telecoms firms — Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd. and K-NET — hold a combined stake of 55% in the new company, said Singh. The Ghana government will own just under 10% of NGIC, while local mobile operators and private investors will retain the remaining shares in the firm. Singh is also the chief executive of Ascend.

NGIC has the exclusive right to offer 5G services in Ghana for a decade, though its license is valid for 15 years. The company’s capital expenditure for three years is $145 million, according to Singh.

The company is looking to emulate the success of Ambani’s Jio Infocomm Ltd. in India. Jio launched telecoms services in India in late 2016 with low-cost data and free voice calling, forcing some rivals to shut down and others to consolidate. It is widely credited for making mobile data affordable to hundreds of millions of Indians. Jio is currently India’s biggest mobile operator with 470 million users.

“First we have to be successful to show the value that we create before they come in,” Singh said. “That’s the discussion we’re having with them.”