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MTC vents over Windhoek municipality telco licence

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Namibia , 15 May 2020
MTC has clashed with the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN).
MTC has clashed with the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN).

Namibia’s Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) and the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) have bumped heads over a decision to issue a class comprehensive Telecommunications Service Licence to the City of Windhoek municipality.

According to MTC, the licence will allow the City to build and operate a telecommunications service network similar to that of other telecommunications service providers and result in unfair competition.

MTC also claims that for the provision of telecom services in Windhoek, a licensee now needs to obtain approval from the City to set up telecom equipment on their land either by digging for fibre or erecting telecom towers.

MTC’s chief human capital and corporate affairs officer Tim Ekandjo said that when such authorisation is requested from a competitor, they have the ability to slow down approvals for their own benefits.

Ekandjo argued that in terms of the licence, the City of Windhoek would have to lease its fibre to other licenced operators for the provision of telecommunications services and therefore the decision of the communications authority is anti-competitive.

The company is considering legal action.

Ekandjo said, “Surprisingly, and without following a rule making process in terms of which the public and licensees would have had an opportunity to provide comments, on April 29, 2020, CRAN awarded a Class Comprehensive Telecommunications licence to the City of Windhoek. The licence allows for the provision of telecom services and the operation and deployment of a network.”

According to local media reports, Paratus Africa has also questioned why the City, a local authority, was awarded the licence, saying it was not mandated to implement, manage or own telecommunication services as far as the Local Government Act is concerned.

CRAN did not respond to ITWeb Africa’s inquiry on the matter.

However, according to Namibian Sun newspaper report, the Authority believes that considering the type of services the City intends to provide, a Class Comprehensive Telecommunications Service Licence is preferential to a Network Facilities Service Licence that was originally applied for.

It was quoted as saying: “Granting the licence to the City was not illegal. The Communications Act does not prohibit local authorities from holding telecommunications service licences.”

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