Namibia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Namibian telecom regulator pursues infrastructure sharing plans

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 relative lack of market competition, the country has achieved a telecom 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 TN Mobile (formerly Cell One and Leo, now 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 when 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, including 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, 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.

Although Namibia’s internet and broadband sector is reasonably competitive, with six ISPs active, its development was 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 working to diversify its transit access routes via neighbouring countries, 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, 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.

Key developments:

  • Regulator planning to implement infrastructure sharing;
  • MTN announces plans to sell a 30% interest in its local operation;
  • Telecom Namibia shuts down CDMA network;
  • Namibian government plans to break link between Telecom Namibia and MTC by dissolving the holding company NPTH;
  • LTE fourth generation (4G) mobile services launched;
  • WACS international submarine fibre optic cable secures two upgrades;
  • 3G mobile broadband prices remain stable following 4G launch;
  • MTC launched MTC Money payment service;
  • Telecom Namibia launches fibre-based broadband services, offering 120Mb/s;
  • Portugal Telecom’s merger with Brazil’s telco Oi will have implications for the former’s partner in Namibia MTC, in delivering the operator benefits of scale as well as access to technologies.
  • Leo rebranded as TN Mobile and the operator invests in LTE infrastructure;
  • Government launches project to broadband-enable regional schools using white-space spectrum;
  • Government transfers its exclusive capacity in the WACS cable to Telecom Namibia;
  • Telecom Namibia launches LTE services;
  • MultiChoice expands DStv mobile TV service beyond Windhoek.
  • Windhoek Internet Exchange Point (WIXP) opens, ending depending on international connections for domestic access.
  • Telecom Namibia sees a dive in profit for FY2013;
  • Regulator enforcing a 1.5% tax on telcos’ profits;
  • Government prepares its Universal Access Service and Content Policy;
  • White spaces trial providing internet access to rural north Namibia.
  • Telecom Namibia launches a converged fixed-mobile service, branded ‘tn1’.

Estimated market penetration rates in Namibia’s telecoms sector – end-2015 (e)

Market
Penetration rate
Mobile
115%
Fixed
7.5%
Internet
17.1%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telecom Namibia; Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (MTC); Cell One (Leo, Orascom); Powercom; MTN Business Namibia; MWEB Namibia; Africa Online Namibia; Internet Technologies Namibia; iWay.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Market analysis
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Regulatory authorities
      • 4.1.1 Ministerial Communications Division
      • 4.1.2 CRAN (formerly NCC)
    • 4.2 Post and Telecommunications Bill 1999
    • 4.3 Draft Communications Bill 2002
    • 4.4 Communications Act 2009
    • 4.5 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 4.6 International gateways
    • 4.7 Interconnection
    • 4.8 Value-added Tax (VAT)
    • 4.9 Number Portability (NP)
    • 4.10 Infrastructure sharing
    • 4.11 Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephony
  • 5. Fixed-network operator
    • 5.1 Telecom Namibia
      • 5.1.1 Wireless local loop (WLL)
      • 5.1.2 Switch – fixed or mobile?
      • 5.1.3 VSAT
      • 5.1.4 Data services
      • 5.1.5 Next-Generation Network (NGN)
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 National fibre backbone networks
  • 7. International infrastructure
  • 8. Broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.1.1 Market analysis
      • 8.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 8.1.3 White Space for internet access
      • 8.1.4 ISP market
    • 8.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Networks
    • 8.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
    • 8.4 Other fixed-line broadband services
      • 8.4.1 Fixed wireless (WiMAX, WiBro, Wi-Fi)
      • 8.4.2 EV-DO
  • 9. Digital economy
    • 9.1 E-commerce
    • 9.2 E-government
    • 9.3 Digital media
      • 9.3.1 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
  • 10. Mobile communications
    • 10.1 Market analysis
      • 10.1.1 Mobile statistics
      • 10.1.2 Mobile data services
      • 10.1.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 10.2 Regulatory issues
      • 10.2.1 Licensing
      • 10.2.2 Mobile Termination Rates
    • 10.3 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.3.1 Digital networks
      • 10.3.2 Third generation (3G)
      • 10.3.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 10.4 Other infrastructure developments
      • 10.4.1 GPRS/EDGE
      • 10.4.2 HSDPA
      • 10.4.3 Satellite mobile
    • 10.5 Major mobile operators
      • 10.5.1 MTC
      • 10.5.2 TN Mobile (Cell One, Leo)
      • 10.5.3 Mobile handsets
    • 10.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.6.1 Mobile TV
      • 10.6.2 Mobile banking
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Namibia – 2015 (e)
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2015
  • Table 4 – Internet and social media user statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Internal bandwidth – 2003 - 2014
  • Table 8 – Telecom sector revenue ($) – 2007 - 2015
  • Table 9 – Telecom sector revenue (NAD) – 2009 - 2013
  • Table 10 – Telecom Namibia financial data – 2007 - 2014
  • Table 11 – Telecom Namibia switching capacity – 2009 - 2014
  • Table 12 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2004
  • Table 13 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 14 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1996 - 2004
  • Table 15 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 16 – Fixed-line internet subscribers – 2011 - 2015
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 18 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2015
  • Table 19 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1995 - 2004
  • Table 20 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 21 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 22 – dedicated mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 23 – Mobile Termination Rates – 2010 - 2013
  • Table 24 – MTC mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 25 – MTC mobile financial data – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 26 – MTC mobile revenue share by sector – 2012 - 2013
  • Table 27 – MTC ARPU ($) – 2004 - 2010
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2015
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate – 1996 – 2015
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2015
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Namibia

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