IBM today announced that telecommunications service provider Surfline Communications has selected an IBM cloud solution consisting of IBM servers, storage and software to help expand mobile data services in Ghana and across Africa.
Cloud computing capabilities represent a growing opportunity for service providers in Africa, as retail and wholesale data consumers in the continent's emerging economies increasingly need better service and access to voice and data networks. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), internet penetration in the West African nation stood at 3,568,757 users, representing 14 percent of the population, in 2012.
Mobile data is viewed as the most logical path to grow internet adoption in the country and also stimulate economic growth through the emergence of an e-commerce sector in Ghana, as well as in many other African countries. The Ghana Statistical Service records that the country's mobile telephony penetration rate has grown from 50 percent in 2008 to about 83 percent currently.
The sector is one of the largest in the country in terms of cash flow, consumer spending, capital expenditure, taxes and levies accruing to the public treasury and contribution to GDP. In July this year, Surfline announced its entry into Ghana's competitive telecommunications landscape with the commercial deployment of a high speed 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in parts of Western and Central Africa.
Now, Surfline is expanding again to tap into the growing mobile data market in the region. Surfline will deploy the IBM cloud platform to drive its critical backend processing and customer service delivery services. A newly established company with ambitions to significantly improve Ghana's internet usage and access levels, Surfline's new IT platform will help provide tailored communications solutions and services to corporate and retail customers in Ghana.
Issued its license to provide broadband wireless access and related services by Ghana'sNational Communications Authority (NCA) in February 2013, the company will rely on the IBM platform to efficiently deploy its operations and support its entire IT infrastructure.
"We selected IBM's Tivoli Storage Management and Smart Cloud Monitoring solutions because it offered us the best value in terms of our immediate and long term technology infrastructure requirements," said Osei Badu-Nkansah, Surfline's Chief Information Officer (CIO). "IBM has provided a high performance vertical and horizontal scalable technology platform ready to support both the current and projected future computing needs."
The IBM cloud solution will help Surfline optimize its technology costs, improve operational efficiency, achieve better return on investment and ensure excellent service delivery to the emergent and largely unfilled data services needs of Ghana's businesses, government agencies, professional communities, and residential users. Surfline selected IBM's cloud technology over other local and international vendors after a thorough review of overall capabilities, as the IBM solution offered the scalable system design, cloud-ready architecture, longer life cycle and easy scalability that Surfline needed.
"The telecommunications landscape in Ghana is set to undergo fundamental shifts as a growing number of users take up mobile data. Deploying IBM's trusted and industry-tested capabilities is a significant beginning for Surfline Communications as it begins to offer its services to its customers. We are excited to work with Surfline and become a key contributor to its business objectives," said Joe Mensah, Country General Manager for IBM Ghana.
With a population of 25 million, Ghana is the second largest economy in West Africa, a region which will be the fastest-growing in Africa between 2013 and 2014, as predicted by the African Development Bank. IBM business partners Courtbridge Ghana and Tri-Continental Distributions helped deliver the solution, which includes IBM Power 770 and BladeCenter HS23 servers, IBM V7000 Storage systems, the PowerVM virtualization suite, Smart Cloud Monitoring, and Tivoli Storage Manager.