Officials in Ghana tapped US-based OpenRAN provider Parallel Wireless to help connect underserved communities in the country, inking a deal to use the company’s kit in 2,000 new mobile sites.

The project will be financed by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), a government programme established in 2008 to help deliver telecom services to bridge the country’s digital divide.

A Parallel Wireless representative told Mobile World Live work will focus on deployments in the Western North, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana, aiming to achieve 100 per cent coverage in the areas within three years. The goal is to reach 2,000 communities which currently have no coverage.

The representative added GIFEC wants to enable 2G connectivity for voice service and 3G for data, with the option to upgrade to 4G in the future.

Deploying OpenRAN kit aims to provide more flexibility, scalability and energy-efficient networks, while also reducing time to market, as a software-based approach is quicker to deploy than traditional methods (whereby one single infrastructure company such as Ericsson, Nokia or Huawei provide all the hardware kit).

GIFEC administrator Abraham Kofi Asante said in a statement the rollouts will serve consumers and businesses across the transportation, health, education, security, defence and banking sectors.

“This is what we need to accelerate the digital transformation in Ghana. It is imperative that government and policymakers methodically collaborate with the private sector to create the right ecosystem.”

Parallel Wireless’ work in Ghana builds on earlier deals struck with operator Etisalat in the Middle East and MTN Group in Africa.