Technology is a world-first and is retro-compatible with 2G and 3G networks
The news this week, that 18 million Ghanaians with data plans are set to benefit from VoIP over legacy networks, provides food for thought.
It's all too easy to take access to the Internet for granted in America; we have been online for twenty years or more. However, for many in developing countries who remain hobbled, it is like 1995 all over again. Access to the Internet could mean the world of difference in terms of building infrastructure, for learning, and communication.
Thankfully, a few tech giants are stepping in to help make that difference. Google's Project Loon aims to use hot air balloons to provide Internet connectivity in remote areas, and internet.org works tirelessly to help make accessibility affordable for everyone, which essentially is the real key point here – affordability.
VoIP – the cheap choice for change
This week, the optimized mobile VoIP software provider; One Horizon Group announced the strategic launch of its telecommunication technology throughout Ghana, West Africa, via a commercial software agreement with the licensed carrier AccessPLUS Communications Ltd.
This now means that all of Ghana's smartphone users can use existing 2G and 3G cellular data networks to make high-quality calls for less than the cost of a standard local call. An article on Marketwired highlights the point that this has reduced call-delivery costs by a factor of 10 by favoring the Internet over traditional telecoms.
In the same article, Brain Collins, CEO of One Horizon Group states:
We are delighted to be able to expand our presence to another country in Africa and to license our technology to a carrier seeking to make an impact for positive social change…[VoIP technology] continues to expand, especially in territories where over 6 billion people still do not have access to 4G. We fully expect to continue signing license deals of this nature throughout 2017.
We are not entirely certain how Collins arrives at his 6 billion figure but it is worth noting that, in the top 65 countries by 4G penetration, only one sub-Saharan African nation, South Africa (60%), gets a look in.
Demand is not in doubt
According to The Africa Report, back in March 2016, the National Communications Authority (NCA) for Ghana released figures stating that the mobile subscriber rate rose from 34.4 million to 35 million in just one month, and that mobile access rates were approaching two-thirds of the country's population.
The NCA attributed this increase of people having access to mobile phones and mobile Internet to the push of telecommunication companies looking to expand their coverage, as well as cheap smart phones being shipped from China and Ghana's current stable legal and political climate.
One big win-win
With the VoIP market expected by Credence Research to grow at a CAGR of over 9.7% by 2023, as increasing awareness of the benefits of a better experience in both audio and video, as well as the comparative low costs, it is no surprise that VoIP makes for an ideal choice for communication in developing countries.
Historically, less prosperous nations have been exploited for their natural resources, but today, instead of a decimated environment and an unstable social and political landscape, tech companies can now choose to contribute infrastructure, VoIP communications, and access to knowledge instead.
As well as access to tons of cat videos, of course.