Namibia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Although Namibia was slow to introduce competition in the mobile market, with a second operator not licensed until 2006, the market has since seen penetration rates rise to well above the regional average. A new player, Paratus Telecom, has launched LTE services to compete with those offered by MTC, while in late 2017 the regulator licensed Demshi Investment and MTN to provide mobile voice and data services and MVNOs. MTC in late 2017 launched a major infrastructure program aimed at delivering national population coverage by October 2019.
Fixed-line services are still a monopoly of Telecom Namibia, but as a member of the WTO the government plans to open the telecom sector to full competition. As part of this process the government plans to sell a 49% interest in MTC, with 29% to be floated on the Namibian Stock Exchange.
Although Namibia's internet and broadband sector is reasonably competitive, with a small number of active ISPs, its development was for long 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 2011 when the WACS cable landed in the country. International cable services were launched in May 2012. In parallel, Namibia is diversifying its transit access routes via adjacent countries.
The country's growth in broadband services has been helped by developments with 3G and LTE network rollouts, as well as by investments in national fibre backbone infrastructure. 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.
BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.
Telecom Namibia deploys more WiMAX base stations; MTC triples mobile data speeds with launch of LTE-A technology;
MTC launched N$1 billion network expansion project, dubbed 081Every1;
Telecom regulator holds workshop on implementing 5G in Namibia;
Nimbus Infrastructure completes the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) cable;
Paratus Telecom transitions from WiMAX to LTE, plans N$150 million infrastructure investment through to 2021;
MTC launches fibre broadband service;
Exclusive Gateway Networks proposes building a Single Telecoms Gateway to manage all voice and data traffic;
Report update includes the regulator's market data to December 2018, operator data for fiscal 2017, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, 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.
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