Ghana ICT & Telecoms Summit and Best Customer Service Awards 2011

The first ever Ghana ICT & Telecoms Summit and Awards Night takes place in Accra, Ghana from April 28 – 29, 2011 at the Kofi Annan ICT Center and the La Palm Royal Hotel respectively.

Ghana ICT & Telecoms Summit


Ghana ICT & Telecom Summit 2011 is designed to explore the critical business, service and technology strategies needed to ensure market competitiveness and exploit emerging opportunities for increased growth and profitability in Ghana ICT market.

Keynote presentations, dialogues and round-table discussions will feature C-level executives from the major operators in Ghana including Ministry of Communication, National Communication Authority of Ghana, Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES), and Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), as well as government and regulatory authorities, influential institutes and associations.

Selected operators from overseas markets will share first-hand experiences and case studies relevant to Ghana’s broadband development aspirations.

As part of customer’s feedback/response for the Best Customer Service Company category, the organizers of the Awards Night have teamed-up with Ghanaian start-up; NandiMobile who are offering a customized version of it award winning Gripeline service for the purposes of collating votes for the telecoms company in Ghana with the best customer service.

Best Customer Service Awards platform by NandiMobile

Among the different categories, the Best Customer Service Category (bcsc) is the only one open to the general public.

Individuals can vote (i.e. MTN, Expresso, Airtel, TiGO and Vodafone) by sending their choice to 1945 proceeding with the keyword BCSC. e.g. (bcsc Safaricom to short code 1945) where Safaricom is the telecom company’s name.

Google’s Gmail Free SMS in Ghana

Since I heard about the introduction of the Free SMS by Google at the Ghana Google Technology User Group [GhanaGTUG] meet-up on March 5th, 2010; I have always been trying out the Google SMS and trust me, it sure works. I have been in communication with a couple of friends with this new service and I find it very cool.

Gmail SMS Logo

Below is a closer look at how it works and a couple of reviews from other citizen journalists from Ghana.

According to Estelle Akofio-Sowah – Google Ghana Lead;

SMS in Gmail Chat is a feature that allows Gmail users to send SMS messages to their contacts mobile phones using Gmail Chat. We believe SMS in Gmail Chat bridges online and mobile communications, bringing a new level of flexibility and mobility to Gmail Chat. We hope to extend this to additional countries and additional carriers in the future, but have nothing to announce at this time.

According to an information on this new service in Ghana;

Sending a message is free from Gmail to any phone except Vodafone (Ghana) numbers for now. When replying with an SMS from phone to Gmail, you will be charged a regular SMS rate by your mobile provider.

Gmail SMS Screen Capture

The SMS messages are integrated into the chat interface and SMS replies appear as a reply in Chat. These SMS conversations are  also stored in your Chat history just like regular chats.  Below is a list of Countries and GSM Operators currently supported.

* Ghana [MTN, Zain, Tigo & Kasapa] Vodafone not available yet.

* Israel [Pelephone & Orange]

* Palestinian Territories [Jawal]

* United States [All operators]

Nana Kwabena Owusu; author of 233Tech believes that; this is a really smart move by Google, for two main reasons which will both have positive outcomes for Google Ghana.

  1. Increased Google Users: Free SMS is a very powerful offer for people to try out Gmail especially since it is integrated into the email messaging and chat so tightly. Once they become Gmail users they are more likely to end up using other Google products like Google Calendar which also has SMS integrated, Blogger and a whole lot of others.
  2. Mobile Advertising: Mobile search and advertising is one of Google’s high growth areas and although in other countries display ads may be sufficient, SMS advertising is more suited for Ghana. With this move Google may end up with a database of users against which they can execute a mobile SMS advertising strategy without licensing third party data from providers in Ghana.

According to Emmanuel K. Dogbevi of Ghana Business News;

This is indeed a boost to the ICT sector in Ghana that individual’s and companies can take advantage of. Sadly, most Ghanaian businesses are not taking advantage of the growing online and mobile Internet solutions available to maximize business opportunities. This latest innovation from Google after the launch of Google maps in 30 countries in Africa including Ghana emphasizes that opportunity even more.

What’s going to be the next innovative service after Gmail SMS in Ghana? Would it be Google Voice? Well, I’m keeping my ears and eyes out there for more info.

Currently Gmail SMS supports sending messages to four destinations; Israel,  United States, Palestinian Territories and Ghana with four operators in Ghana,  MTN, Zain, Tigo, Kasapa (no Vodafone) supporting the feature. The SMS messages are integrated into the chat interface and SMS replies appear as a reply in Chat. These SMS conversations are  also stored in your Chat history just like regular chats. Each user seems to have 50 messages, although I cannot tell currently over which period it applies.
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