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.
The country’s flagging economy since 2016 was exacerbated by the difficulties resulting from the pandemic. These issues encouraged the government to pursue its plans to sell its stakes in Telecom Namibia and MTC, as well as in a number of other enterprises.
Although Namibia’s internet and broadband sector is reasonably competitive, its development was for many years held back by high prices for international bandwidth caused by the lack of a direct connection to international submarine cables. This market situation improved after operators invested in diversifying terrestrial access routes to adjacent countries. By the end of 2022 Namibia is expected to be connected by a 1,050km branch line of Google’s Equiano cable running between Portugal and South Africa.
Chart 1 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration – 2012 – 2027
Table 1 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration – 2
- Paratus and MTN Namibia sign national roaming agreement aimed at quickening the pace of LTE rollouts;
- Namibia to be connected to Google’s Equiano cable system;
- New SIM card registration rules are put in place;
- MTC completes its IPO;
- 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 June 2021, operator data for fiscal 2021, updated Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of the pandemic on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.