Namibia’s telcos go for network sharing

13 May 2022

Namibia’s telecom market has developed strongly since the second mobile network operator was licenced in 2006, thereby introducing effective competition between MTC Telecom Namibia and Paratus Telecom.

The government’s Broadband Policy aims to provide 95% population coverage by 2024, supported by the efforts of telcos including Paratus Telecom which continue to invest in their own extensive network objectives.

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 have been delayed, partly due to unsubstantiated public concerns over health implications of the technology which caused the government to order an environmental assessment of 5G in mid-2020. Nevertheless, the government has requested the regulator to speed up its 5G development strategy.

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Nigeria’s government approves funding for more satellite connectivity

07 April 2022

Nigeria has one of the largest telecom markets in Africa, supported by the second largest economy on the continent after South Africa.

In recent years, the telecom sector has benefitted from sympathetic regulatory measures aimed at improving competition and developing infrastructure. This has helped boost the country’s fixed-line broadband sector, which has seen considerable consolidation among players in recent years. The government aims to increase broadband penetration to 70%, largely via mobile networks but also supplemented by satellite connectivity covering remote areas.

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DRC pressed to eliminate tax on mobile devices

02 March 2022

The Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) has had a tortuous history since gaining independence. The country’s stability has been affected by disputes among rival groups and armed militias, particularly in the far eastern provinces and Katanga. This has resulted in considerable social upheaval, exacerbated by considerable corruption within the government.

The national telecom system remains one of the least developed in the region. The government can only loosely regulate the sector, and since the national telco SCPT has little capital to invest, much of the investment made in infrastructure is derived from donor countries or from the efforts of foreign (particularly Chinese) companies and banks. Efforts have been made to improve the regulation of the telecom sector, with a revised Telecommunications Act adopted in May 2018. However, the practical implementation of the Act’s measures remains questionable. Indicative of the character of the market is the levy on mobile devices imposed in 2020. While nominally intended to help address fraud, the levy has been widely condemned by consumers as a tax which has enriched a few. This sentiment has not been helped by the fact that the funds levied through to December 2021 could not be accounted for in government accounts.

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Libya sees return to telecom sector investment

16 February 2022

During the last few years Libya has struggled to rebuild its economy and infrastructure following disruption caused by the civil war and the subsequent political unrest. Much of the telecom infrastructure was destroyed or stolen following the 2011 disturbances, including about a quarter of the country’s mobile tower sites. For many years reconstruction efforts were stymied by political and military disturbances which affected much of the country. During the decade during which there were two opposing administrations, based in Tripoli and Tobruk, there was no consensus as to how to rebuild infrastructure on a national scale despite numerous attempts to reach a political solution. Some change is anticipated following the formation of a UN-brokered Government of National Unity in March 2021, though this was an interim measure pending the anticipated presidential and legislative elections set for early 2022.

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