The Government of Ghana has provided extra spectrum to Vodafone and MTN Ghana amid the increased pressure on bandwidth following the spike in data usage in the wake of the novel Coronavirus.

This follows the sudden increase in data usage due to the Coronavirus-induced lockdown of parts of the country which has compelled a lot of people to stay at home.

In a bid to reduce boredom, most people at home spend time getting in touch with friends and loved ones online aside from those working from home.

According to the Ministry of Communication, the extra spectrum is being given to the two telecommunication companies at no cost and will last for three months.

“The President has directed that the National Communications Authority (NCA) should give more bandwidth to telcos during this period for free and that has been done. That has been given to the two telcos that are bearing the brunt of it; Vodafone and MTN ” the Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

She further noted that AirtelTigo which is also a major player in the communications space, “has a sufficient spectrum so Vodafone and MTN have been given the additional spectrum for three months because we do need to reserve some for emergencies like this and so we can’t give them permanently.”

Madam Owusu-Ekuful is hopeful that this development “will help reduce the pressure on their networks.”

She also urged Ghanaians to conserve the data they use by limiting the download of “movies and music.”

After the country recorded cases of the novel Coronavirus in the country in March, which necessitated a ban on public gatherings and closure of schools, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Selorm Adadevoh, stated that data consumption in Ghana had gone up by about 20 percent.

The increased data use also led to an increase in calls for a reduction in data costs.  But the Chief Executive Officer of MTN says reducing the cost of data to boost communication amidst the pandemic, could increase traffic that will affect internet speed.

GCT calls for responsible internet etiquette

Meanwhile, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT) has stated that to ensure the fair, responsible and rational use of telecommunications networks and the internet, as the novel Coronavirus continues to spread, the public should resoadopt responsible internet etiquette and avoid the use of online entertainment services during digital traffic rush-hours, that is between 9:00am and 11:00am and 7:00pm -11:00pm.