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First Nationwide Mobile WiMax Targeted For Ghana

The 802.16e network deployment is under way, with initial operations to begin in the capital city of Accra.
The first nationwide deployment of mobile WiMAX is planned for Ghana, according to an announcement Monday by Internet Ghana and Navini Networks, which will install the high-speed network.

The 802.16e network deployment is underway, with initial operation to begin in the capital city of Accra.

"Once Internet Ghana saw it in action in other countries, they decided to move pretty quickly," said Maryvonne Tubb, Navini Networks spokeswoman. She said the firms involved in the deployment view mobile WiMAX as an effective tool to bridge the "digital divide" to bring broadband solutions to third world and developing countries seeking to leapfrog into more advanced technologies.

"With high consumer demand, poor DSL access and long customer connections, Ghana is absolutely ready for mass market, rapid install, broadband wireless services," said Leslie Tamakloe, CEO of Internet Ghana, in a statement.

Tamakloe said the first phase of the rollout calls for Accra to be covered first, to be followed quickly by the 10 largest commercial cities including Tamale, Kumasi and Tema. Internet Ghana, a licensed Internet service provider, will offer customer premises equipment (CPE) directly to customers. CPE will also be offered at retail outlets throughout the African country.

Tubb said there is a great amount of activity by broadband vendors and entrepreneurs in Africa, because the Continent is considered ripe for the new technology. Mobile WiMAX has the great advantage of being able to be deployed in areas that haven't been built out with existing broadband and telecommunications infrastructure like DSL and cable broadband.

Tubb noted that Navini has been deploying mobile WiMAX in other countries. The Texas firm's biggest installation is in Australia, where some 60,000 subscribers have signed up for the wireless broadband service. Tubb said roaming between Sydney and Melbourne was recently implemented.

While the mobile WiMAX installations currently being installed are officially "Pre-Mobile WiMAX," vendors including Navini are guaranteeing they will operate when the WiMAX Forum officially blesses the technology. Navini is utilizing its Ripwave MX solution with its Smart WiMAX solution in the Ghana network.

Incorporated in 1995 as a licensed ISP, Internet Ghana has serves the country and the West African sub-region. Initially, service was provided through its satellite earth station at Adabraka and linked to the U.S. via the Verestar Internet backbone. Currently, the Ghana ISP is connected via SAT-3/WASC from Accra to Portugal, connecting by trans-Atlantic cables to Sprint facilities in New York.