Namibia’s MTC progresses with network expansion
Under its 2019 National Broadband Policy the government aimed to achieve 95% population coverage by 2024, delivering a service of at least 2Mb/s.
The policy has continuing objectives though to 2029, while the associated Implementation Action Plan includes programs through to 2024.
These various measures are intended to reduce the digital divide by facilitating investment in IP-based services, and encouraging the take-up of services.
Mobile network coverage has increased sharply in recent years. By the beginning of 2021, 3G infrastructure provided 89% population coverage while LTE infrastructure provided 79% coverage (compared to only 40% a year earlier). Developments with 5G were set back by unsubstantiated public concerns over the health implications of the technology, though the government has requested the regulator to speed up its 5G development strategy.
The increase in the number of mobile broadband subscribers seen since 2018 has partly been attributed to MTC’s 081Every1 campaign which is intended to provide national coverage and to improve data rates over its 3G and LTE networks. Phase 1 of the project was completed by June 2020, while Phase 2 was essentially complete by early 2022. Phase 3 is due to be completed by September 2022.
The work undertaken by MTC contributed to the 8.5% increase in the number of mobile broadband subscribers in the year to June 2021, reaching 1.877 million. The regulator noted that continuing growth in the sector has also been supported by the popularity of prepaid internet-enabled SIM cards compared to the use of PCs and laptops.Key developments:
- Paratus and MTN Namibia sign national roaming agreement aimed at quickening the pace of LTE rollouts;
- MTN Namibia engages NuRAN Wireless for the deployment of at least 150 GSM and 4G sites across the country;
- Regulator suspends the issuing of new telecoms and broadcasting licences between October 2022 and September 2023, also intends to review the current frequency band plan;
- Namibia to be connected to Google’s Equiano cable system; Paratus completes works on Namibian landing station;
- New SIM card registration rules are put in place;
- MTC completes its IPO;
- Paratus to launch a N$123 million data centre facility in August 2022;
- Telecom Namibia upgrades its VSAT hub to provide more reliable connectivity for users in remote areas;
- Government calls for the regulator to speed up 5G development strategy;
- Government launches the National Broadband Policy and Implementation Action Plan, aiming to provide a universal 2Mb/s services by 2024;
- MTC nears completion of Phase 2 of its N$1 billion 081Every1 network expansion project;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market report for 2020, market data to end-2021, operator data for fiscal 2021, updated Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, and recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telecom Namibia; Mobile Telecommunications (MTC); Cell One (Leo, Orascom); Powercom; MTN Business Namibia; MWEB Namibia; Africa Online Namibia; Internet Technologies Namibia; iWay