The licences went to Loc8 Mobile, Telecom Namibia and Mobile Telecommunications
The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has awarded 5G licences to Loc8 Mobile, Telecom Namibia Limited, and Mobile Telecommunications Limited. This is after the regulator auctioned spectrum below 1GHz, generating about N$28.5 million (€1.392 million) in total.
Emilia Nghikembua, Chief Executive Officer of CRAN, said the award of these spectrum licences to roll out 4G and 5G services is twofold. First to make emerging mobile technologies available and second to promote universal access to mobile communications in rural and other areas to foster participation for all in the digital economy.
“To improve universal access, CRAN imposed licence conditions on successful bidders to increase 4G population coverage in the Kunene, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Hardap, and Kavango West Regions,” the regulator said.
She added that these regions were identified as their coverage of the population by 4G is below 80%. Licence conditions will require bidders to improve coverage to 80% and above.
“This award is an important milestone in CRAN’s vision to improve access to telecommunications services in Namibia and is a right step towards the attainment of the fourth industrial revolution,” she said.
The regulator approved the testing and trials of 5G services and networks for three months, until 31 December. “This authorisation is aligned to the 5G Strategy and the Broadband Policy and reaffirms our commitment to promote technological innovation and the deployment of advanced facilities to respond to the diverse needs of industry and support the social and economic growth in Namibia,” said Nghikembua.
Licensees will use assigned frequencies 703-788MHz and 790-862MHz bands to provide international mobile services (IMT), maintaining a downlink data speed of not less than 20Mbps and in compliance with the Quality-of-Service Regulations.
The spectrum licences are valid for 10 years and will be subject to renewal for a similar period or could be cancelled or transferred in line with regulations.
MTC has already expressed its readiness to deploy 5G services.
If things go to plan, Namibia could become one of the first countries in the region to have a 5G network. Zambia recently launched 5G services. Safaricom is offering 5G services in Kenya, Vodacom in Tanzania, Telkom in South Africa, MTN in Nigeria, and Orange in Botswana.