A number of mobile phone users in Ghana took to the streets of Accra to register their displeasure with the poor service being provided by the five mobile telecommunication companies operating in the country. There is also increasing criticism over the number of new telecom masts. Stephen Gyasi Jnr reports.
Ghana's Consumer Protection
Agency (CPA), together with other consumer rights groups, called on all mobile phone users in the country to switch off their mobile phones on 27th May as part of the protest to press home their demands for quality services from mobile phone service providers.
Protesters also gathered at the famous Kwame Nkrumah Circle in the downtown area, from where they began the march through the principal streets of the Ghanaian capital.
The chief executive of the CPA, Kofi Kapito, in an interview with African Business, said the march marked a simultaneous six-hour boycott of mobile phone use, to impress upon the telecom companies the need to provide Ghanaians with better value-for-money services.
He said that from erecting advertising hoardings that blocked the view of oncoming vehicles in the city centre, to the sending of unsolicited text messages, most of which are fraudulent but are camouflaged in the name of promotions and loyalties to "swindle" the subscriber, most of these companies continue to profit from the Ghanaian consumer while paying lip service to quality assurance.
The demonstration, dubbed 'Ghana Off Phone Day', urged all Ghanaians to switch off their phones from 6am to midday, to send the strongest message to the telecommunication companies that without subscribers, they do not exist.
The street march, numbering about 100 demonstrators, mainly young men and women, danced and sang as they marched through the centre of Accra brandishing placards with messages reading "We are tired of your poor services", "MTN, Tigo, Kasapa, Vodafone and Zain, the value is the same", "Telecom masts are a hazard", "We are tired of low grade services", "Stop dodgy text promotions", "National Communications Authority, wake up", "We deserve lower phone rates", among others. The protest ended at the Ministry of Communications building, where the head of CPA, Kapito, on behalf of the protesters, presented a petition to the Deputy Communications Minister, Gideon Quarcoo, who assured the demonstrators of the government's readiness to look into the petition and take the necessary...