Sunday, 5 July 2020

Data Usage Growing in Namibia but No 5G Please


Although Namibia was slow to introduce competition in the mobile market, with a second operator not licensed until 2006, since then penetration rates have risen to well above the regional average.
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.

Namibia has very low population density. However mobile phone coverage is quite good in populated areas and along the main highways. Some level of coverage is nearly always available throughout the country with exception to some National Parks (like Etosha), where you get data and phone services only in the rest camps.

In 2017 mobile coverage stood at 95% of population, and 4G was only available in large towns and some villages.

Namibia has two major network operators: MTC and Telecom Namibia (TN mobile). 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz only. 4G/LTE has started on both operators on 1800 MHz (B3) in major towns. The third operator Paratus Telecom has a 4G/LTE network on 1800 MHz (B3) in Windhoek only and migrates its customers from WIMAX to TD-LTE 2600 MHz mostly for stationary use similar to Telecom Namibia's TD-LTE 2600 MHz home network in some towns.



MTC is the largest operator in Namibia by far: GSMA Intelligence figures for Q4 2019 showed it held an 88 per cent market share on 2.7 million connections.

In June 2018 MTC has made 4G/LTE service available to its 2 million plus prepaid subscribers. MTC prepaid customers can now get internet service at significantly higher speeds and quality by accessing its LTE network service, which was only available to postpaid customers before. All customers accessing MTC's network with a 4G SIM card and a 4G-enabled device will automatically be supplied with the service.

MTC  have completed the first phase of the 081Every1 network expansion that they began in July 2017. The operator plans to spend a total of NAD1.2 billion (US$79 million) on the initiative, expanding its footprint with 524 new sites to extend coverage to almost 100% of Namibia’s population. It aims to deliver 3G infrastructure in rural regions and upgrade urban areas to 4G.

Recently MTC denied rumours that the company has secretly been installing 5G towers while the Khomas and Erongo regions are locked down. Some conspiracy theories have been linking 5G networks, which is the fifth generation of wireless communications technologies supporting cellular data networks, to the coronavirus pandemic. In a press statement, MTC rubbished the conspiracy theory suggesting the lockdown was planned so that Namibians remain indoors and not oppose the erection of 5G towers and insisting MTC has and will always trial a new technology first like they have always done with the full permission of all relevant authorities.

Telecom Namibia Ltd. Mobile was previously called LEO Mobile and Cell One and is also called TN Mobile. It's the smaller network with a slightly lower coverage and lower prices.

Telecom Namibia also runs a TD-LTE network on 2600 MHz (band 38) in some towns. This replaces their old WIMAX network and is intended for stationary home use mostly.


Paratus Telecom holds licenses for 4G/LTE on band 3 (1800 MHz) in Windhoek and refarms its old WIMAX customers to 2600 TD-LTE (Band 38). It boast with the lowest prices for data in the country, but its network is limited to 4G/LTE and a very small area in the capital so far.

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