WESTEL (Zain)-Airtel (owned by GNPC)
WESTEL is licensed to provide fixed and wireless telecommunications services throughout Ghana, including basic phone services, cellular, paging, international long-distance, payphones, data communications, private networks and satellite communications, but it did not launch services until late 1998 due to GT’s refusal to connect it to the national PSTN. Since then the telco has been blighted by bureaucratic disagreements and a lack of investment.
Originally a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Westel was floated in an IPO following the opening up of the market. Western Wireless International (WWI) of the US took a majority stake, but in its allotted duopoly period installed fewer than 3,000 of the 50,000 lines stipulated by its concession and its own target of 100,000 lines per annum.
WESTEL was awarded the second national operator’s licence in 1996 and granted a five year duopoly on basic telecoms services alongside incumbent GT.