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Namibia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

WACS international fibre optic cable sets the stage for a broadband boom

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Namibia’s telecommunications market.

Subjects covered include:
Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Market estimates to end-2012;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Internet and broadband development;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
3G and 4G (LTE) mobile broadband services and pricing;
Average revenue per user (ARPU).

Namibia was one of the last countries in Africa to introduce competition in the mobile communications sector when a second network finally launched in 2007. Despite this, the country has achieved a market penetration rate well above the regional average. However, the average revenue per user has more than halved since then. Both GSM operators – MTC (managed by Portugal Telecom) and Cell One (renamed Leo by its new owner, Orascom) – have entered the internet and broadband market with 3G mobile broadband services in a bid to create new revenue streams. MTC introduced fourth generation (4G) technology to the market in May 2012 when it launched an LTE network in the capital, Windhoek. In addition, Telecom Namibia (TN) is offering 3G mobile broadband services using EV-DO technology.

Fixed-line services are still a monopoly of TN, but as a member of the WTO the government plans to open the telecom sector to full competition. TN entered the lucrative mobile market as the third player with a CDMA network but was put on hold by the industry regulator, the Namibian Communications Commission, until a new communications law was enacted which, among other issues, addresses fixed-mobile convergence. Since then, however, the absence of effective regulation during the transition to a new regulatory authority, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia, has led to further delays in market liberalisation.

Despite being reasonably competitive with six ISPs, development of Namibia’s internet and broadband sector has been held back by high prices for international bandwidth, caused by the lack of a direct connection to international submarine fibre optic cables. This changed in early 2011 when the WACS cable landed in the country, with services launched in May 2012. In parallel, Namibia is working to diversify its transit access routes via neighbouring countries, but broadband price reductions on the retail level have only been moderate so far.

The country is well prepared for a broadband boom, with 3G and 4G mobile services and a national fibre backbone infrastructure in place. Several WiMAX and other wireless broadband services offer additional access options and are standing by to bring additional competition to the voice market as well, once internet telephony is deregulated.

Market highlights:
LTE fourth generation (4G) mobile services launched;
WACS international submarine fibre optic cable brings more internet bandwidth;
3G mobile broadband prices remain stable following 4G launch;
Market analysis 2012;
Estimates for mobile, fixed-line and internet market to end-2012;
Profiles of major players in all market sectors.
Estimated market penetration rates in Namibia’s telecoms sector – end 2012
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 111%
Fixed | 7%
Internet | 9%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:
Telecom Namibia;
Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (MTC);
Cell One (Leo, Orascom);
MTN Business Namibia;
MWEB Namibia;
Africa Online Namibia;
Internet Technologies Namibia;

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Market analysis 2012
3.2 Regional comparison
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Ministerial Communications Division
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 CRAN (formerly NCC)
4.3 Post and Telecommunications Bill 1999
4.4 Draft Communications Bill 2002
4.5 Communications Act 2009
4.6 Telecom sector liberalisation in Namibia
4.7 International gateways
4.8 Interconnection
4.9 Value-added Tax (VAT)
5. Fixed-network operator in Namibia
5.1 Telecom Namibia Ltd
5.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
5.1.2 Network infrastructure
5.1.3 Wireless local loop (WLL)
5.1.4 Switch – fixed or mobile?
5.1.5 VSAT
5.1.6 Data services
5.1.7 Next-generation network (NGN)
6. International infrastructure
7. Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 Internet connectivity
7.3 Namibia’s ISP market
7.3.1 MTN Business (formerly Verizon Business, UUNet Namibia)
7.3.2 Africa Online Namibia
7.3.3 Internet Technologies Namibia (ITN)
7.3.4 iWay
7.4 SchoolNet Namibia
8. Broadband market
8.1 ADSL
8.2 Wireless broadband
8.3 WiMAX
8.4 WiFi
9. Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephony
10. Digital economy
10.1 E-commerce
10.2 E-government
11. Mobile communications
11.1 Overview of Namibia’s mobile market
11.1.1 The long road to Namibia’s second mobile licence
11.1.2 Mobile statistics
11.2 Major mobile operators
11.2.1 MTC
11.2.2 Cell One (Leo)
11.3 Mobile data services
11.3.1 SMS and MMS
11.3.2 GPRS/EDGE
11.3.3 3G/HSDPA
11.3.4 LTE
11.3.5 EV-DO
11.4 Mobile content and applications
11.4.1 Mobile TV
11.4.2 Mobile banking
11.5 Satellite mobile
12. Related reports
List of Tables, Charts and Exhibits
Table 1 – Country statistics Namibia – 2012
Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2012
Table 8 – Internet users and penetration rate – 1996 - 2012
Table 9 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1995 - 2012
Table 10 – MTC ARPU – 2004 - 2010
Table 11 – Netman 3G mobile broadband pricing – May 2012
Table 12 – Netman 4G mobile broadband pricing – May 2012
Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2012
Exhibit 1 – Map of Namibia

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