Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ghana - A review of MTN Mobile Broadband Service

[accra mail] With over 7.4 million subscribers as of September 2009, MTN is easily Ghana's leading telecommunications network, offering mobile telephony, internet connectivity and many more. I recently picked up an MTN exclusive 3G pack for GHC 100.00
(about $69.00) which I have used extensively for about 14 days mainly in Accra. I, therefore, write of my experience using the mobile broadband service.

The MTN 3G pack contained an MTN branded Huawei E160E USB stick and an MTN internet SIM with the ability to work across most GSM networks globally at speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, which is very high by today's best standards. With a micro SD card slot, the USD modem can also serve as a USD storage device with the capacity of up to 4GB storage space.

With no CD installation software required, installing the device is fast and straight forward and works almost as soon as it is connected to a PC or Mac. It also has the ability to work across platforms on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac operating systems and even on an Ubuntu desktop version operating system.

The dialing software, MTN F@stlink, that is installed as soon as the modem is plugged in, also affords users the features of instant connection and disconnection; display of real time daily, monthly and yearly data counter statistics; send, receive and manage existing text messages; phonebook and manage airtime by checking existing data balance and loading regular MTN airtime vouchers.

The Special SIM, preloaded with GHC 2.00(50 MB of data), offers lower tariff compared to that of other networks such as other networks. A GHC 30.00 airtime loaded amounted to 1.2GB of data with 400MB of data credited each time I loaded a GHC 10.00 airtime voucher whilst zain's internet service offers 1GB data for the same GHC 30.00.

From the McCarthy Hills area in Accra, I experience signal strength of 95% to 99% with download speeds at about 1.8Mbps. Speeds, however, may differ depending on the time of day, number of people connected to a base station, speed of travel and signal strength.

MTN's broadband service is best used where there is 3.5G network coverage. According to MTN Ghana's website, the 3.5G service is available in Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tarkwa, Bogoso, Ho, Koforidua and Cape Coast. Others include Kasoa, Winneba, Tamale, Sunyani, Kenyasi, Techiman, Obuasi and Bolgatanga. The service is also available in Wa, Prestea. Damine, Ntoronso, Bibiani, Bosomtwi, Bekwai, Aflao, Chirano and still counting.

Also available on the MTN broadband service is a 3.5G F@stlink router with an embedded wireless hotspot with four Ethernet ports and a traditional phone jack that allows a user to share a connection with multiple users. It is ideal for a home or a small business. The router can also serve as modem by using the USB slot to provide a single connection to a user. MTN's mobile broadband service is ideal for home or small businesses who have limited data usage but want to experience the high speed 3.5G technology offers. The entry fees are affordable as are the data tariffs.

A review of MTN Ghana Mobile Broadband Service

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