Records from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications indicate mobile money wallets have grown 420 percent from an estimated 2.5million in 2011 to over 13 million currently.
Over the same period, the volume of mobile money transactions grew from about 10 million to a whopping 267 million, while the monetary value of those transactions also rose from about GH¢400million to hit a staggering GH¢35billion ($9bn).
In 2011, there were just about 6,000 mobile money merchants, but currently, between the four telcos that run mobile money service in this country, there are over 80,000 merchants serving Ghanaians across the country.
This is way more than all bank, savings and loans and other financial service companies branches put together.
Mobile Money, has over these five years been a major platform for the money transfers, airtime purchase, and payments such as school fees, utility bills, for goods and services, foreign remittances and for government stipends to person pro-poor programs among others.
Recently, wallet holders started earning quarterly interests on the daily balances on their mobile money wallets, a move expected to even boost the use of the service further and to promote financial inclusion.
Telecoms market leader, MTN, has, for instance, made it possible, through a partnership with Ecobank, for wallet holders to make financial investments through the purchase of treasury bills using their wallet.
Banking industry players have indeed admitted that mobile money will lead the national drive towards a cashless/cash-lite society and financial inclusion.
Telecoms Chamber CEO, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo believes the influx of affordable smartphones, interest on mobile wallet balances, and the other benefits mobile money promises will eventually get Ghana to its cash-lite destination.
Meanwhile, the report from Telecoms Chamber indicates that, beyond the exponential growth in mobile money over the last five years of the Chamber’s life, the sector also made a tremendous contribution in terms of taxes and other payments to the state.
The sector contributed as estimated GHC4.92 billion in total taxes to the state in the last five years, while making additional payments of about GHC595million in other remittances on international incoming traffic, among others.
The additional remittances include regulatory fees, spectrum fee, local authority levies, row fees to road agencies, BOPs, the outmoded National Fiscal Stabilization Levy, and surcharge .
Indeed, in 2015 alone, the sector paid GH¢1.42 in total taxes and some GH¢168 million in other remittances.
Over the same five-year period, industry players also invested some GH¢3.82 billion in capital expenditure geared at improving the quality of services.
Indeed, in the last five years, the National Communication Authority’s Quality of Service trends consistently show improvements in telecoms quality of service in the country, even though there is still room for more improvement.
Part of the big investments in the sector within the period was MTN Ghana’s purchase of a 4G LTE spectrum for $67.5 and plus an initial $18 million to deploy the services across six regional capitals in the country.
It is also worthy of note that in those five years the sector also saw very significant growth in both voice and data subscriptions. Voice subscriptions grew by over 71 percent, from 21 million in 2011 to the current over 36 million, while data subscription grew by 125 per cent, from eight million to 18 million over the period.
The telecom ecosystem, particularly, those which constitute the Chamber, till date, provide some 6,200 direct jobs and about 1.6 million indirect jobs.
The NCA subscriber base trends indicate the sector is growing every month in spite of the fact that there are six players serving an estimated population of about 27 million, out of which about 17 million are estimated to be eligible phone users.