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Namibia: Namibia Communication Profile






Namibia was one of the last nations in Africa to introduce competition in the mobile communications sector at the same time as a second network finally launched in 2007. Despite this, the country has completed a market penetration rate well above the regional average.

However, the average revenue per user has additional than halved since again. Both GSM operators – MTC (managed by Portugal Telecom) and TN Mobile (formerly Cell One and Leo, presently owned by Telecom Namibia) – 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 in May 2012 at the same time as it launched an LTE network in the capital, Windhoek. In addition, Telecom Namibia (TN) offers 3G mobile broadband services using EV-DO technology, and in 2013 contracted ZTE to roll out a network to provide converged fixed and mobile services, inclunding LTE.

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, part other issues, addresses fixed-mobile convergence.

Since again, 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 was long held back by high prices for international bandwidth, caused by the lack of a direct connection to international submarine fibre optic cables until 2011 at the same time as the WACS cable landed in the country. International cable services were launched in May 2012.

In parallel, Namibia is working to diversify its transit access routes via neighbouring nations, but broadband price reductions on the retail level have remained moderate.

The country’s boom in broadband services has been helped by developments with 3G and 4G mobile services, inclunding 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.

Estimated market penetration rates in Namibia’s telecoms sector – end-2014

Market Penetration rate
Mobile 117%
Fixed 7.4%
Internet 14.8%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)


mobile cellular subscriptions of Namibia


mobile cellular subscriptions of Namibia

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