Yesterday a friend of mine showed me a news article on the myjoyonline website about the challenges Glo is facing in their bid to expand their network to Ghana. The vandalism of their billboards and other equipments, the delay in starting operations, the ban on the erection of telecom masts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) etc etc… The news of Glo coming to Ghana started as a rumor where only a few people knew about it. Speculations flew about here and there. People pointed at buildings, saying that would be where their head office will be blablabla and then later, it became certified news, with the billboards that started at the international airport. Some people where even brave enough to quit their jobs and apply to a company that had not even gotten a certified office. Two years and counting, majority of people in Ghana are still waiting for the grand arrival of the network that would deliver them from the shackles of the worst connection and the supposedly wonderful world of spam via text messaging and unnecessary notifications every time you made a call or sent a text message. I mean what is that all about!? but I would not go into that this morning. That should be a post for another day.
I remember when Zain launched in Ghana and everyone was going gaga about the network and how it would deliver them and provide excellent communication service (not to say they have not done anything good. Mobile Internet was a great introduction. My iPhone didn’t feel so under used anymore waiting till I got to a WI-FI hotspot to connect with the rest of the world or download apps on the go). I remember the number reservation catch that enticed lots of people (I was a victim too). It was like “What could be more convenient than specifying your phone number?” Instead of randomly given a phone number you have to memorize and recite every time in your head before saying it out when asked or written down those moments you fill a form. This little service was a juicy bait hanging on the hook of same ‘ol telecoms service.
The queues for sim pickup the day they finally opened their doors was amazing. It made all the other competitors think of the sitting up they had to do. Time went by and things as usual went back to what they were. The complains of crappy service from every service provider, the providers slashing prices here and there and giving away questionable amount of money every week just to keep the competition alive and customers hanging on. Then this shiny green orb came along appearing to be the next real Savior.
The hopes of everyone around was back up waiting for this arrival and I asked “What is all the fuss about?”. People were setting up groups on Facebook for the network, loadddssss of people were joining these groups. Still I was asking “What is the fuss about?” It’s like no one could hear me. Why is everyone so excited about the arrival of this network? What ahhh are you expecting from them? Is it the fiber optic network? or the fact that they fly in their workers from Nigeria everyday to Ghana to work (so I hear), or the sign up of artists as ambassadors? what? what is it? I mean this people did not even have a usable website till I think last month or so. (the new website is beautiful and better than the bright yellow thing on the other side of the Internet)… I was and still very curious because I have not seen the mind-blowing thing they have done here in Nigeria with regards to better communication. Or maybe it is the shiny billboards of Nadia, Irene, Vicker pointing fingers at you every direction you turn and making you feel closer and more familiar to them or maybe the giveaways they hear of in Nigeria that is enticing people. The giveaways of KIAs, BMWs, Mercedes Benz(s), motorcycles, etc etc… Or the sending of people to Old Trafford to watch football matches or the crazy amount of spam they send (I guess no one thought of that yet)…
All the raves, disappointments and slandering of Glo and the possibilities of them backing out of GH I have heard so far do not even consider the issue here. Everyone seems to be calling them sissy for thinking of backing out of the country. Even if they do decide to back out, who says they aren’t going to come back? Some people say they expect a stronger fight from them after all they are Nigerians init? But do Ghanaians want them to fight like they were in Nigeria? Do they recognize the effect of Glo introducing the Nigerian style of business in Ghana? If Glo is to fight back the way they want them to, can they contain it? Do they think of the long-term consequence of this on the economy? (my guess is no). It could well mean that any foreign company can bully its way into the country or fight its way and just be possessive…. amongst other things… Some people describe the whole Glo entrance and maybe exit as seducing a wife up until the honeymoon and just leaving her just when she is about to climax…
When they arrive what do you expect from them? Their gifts or the service they set out to provide of keeping you and your loved ones not just connected but giving a stable and reliable connection.
This is not in any way to slander the network or paint it in a bad way but just a series of questions/observations and one person’s mini opinion on the whole saga.