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Ghana company launches country's first 4G data network

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana company Surfline Communications launched the country's first 4G data network on Tuesday in partnership with French technology company Alcatel-Lucent, making Ghana the sixth nation in sub-Saharan Africa to get the high speed service.

The wholly-owned company invested more than $100 million for the first phase of the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network, which has 300 cell sites, according to Chairman John Taylor, who owns a string of oil-related businesses, and wholly owns Surfline.

The pre-paid data-only service is available in the capital and the nearby port city of Tema, but Taylor said Surfline aimed to go nationwide within two years.

"We want to fill the void by providing high speed connectivity to facilitate e-education, e-commerce and facilitate long distance activities especially by people living outside the cities," Taylor said.

South Africa's MTN is the dominant mobile phone company in the West African state, less than 20 percent of whose population uses the Internet. Rapid cell and internet growth across Africa is making it an increasingly attractive proposition for companies looking to sell data services.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew hay)

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