Namibia keeps mum on 5G rollout strategy
Mobile network operator Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) Namibia continues to negotiate with the Southern African country’s government to end the current moratorium placed on the deployment of 5G networks.
The company wants the moratorium lifted so that operators can start laying the foundation for 5G deployment.
MTC chief human capital and corporate affairs officer Tim Ekandjo said 5G was important to 4IR, and there is a need for “a conducive policy” to stimulate participation rather than inhibit it.
Ekandjo was quoted by the local The Namibian newspaper as saying, “With 5G comes high data rates, reduced latency, energy serving, cost reductions and higher system changes. Almost every country in Africa has embraced the 5G technology and is enjoying its benefits. Sadly, we still have a moratorium on 5G here in Namibia and it is rather unfortunate that a country that has always been first in rolling out technologies has now become the last due to conspiracy theories that have never made sense in the first place. We cannot talk about Fourth Industrial Revolution in the absence of 5G.”
At the same time MTC and multinational tech firm Huawei Technologies have committed to a collaboration agreement with the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) to support the Smart Campus Initiative. This is an organised effort to contribute towards 5G technology related training, infrastructure development and towards the development of a solid foundation for rollout. The agreement represents the appeal of collaborators to government to end the moratorium.
In 2020 Ekandjo told ITWeb Africa that the company was planning to implement the 5G technology, but it had to be done responsibly.
He said, “MTC has and will always trial a new technology first like we have always done with the full permission of all relevant authorities.”
In the same year, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism was tasked with conducting a strategic environmental assessment on the introduction of 5G technology in the country.
The government also tasked the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), through the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, to accelerate the development of a 5G strategy for Namibia which will be submitted to cabinet for consideration.
Until that is done, the government said no operator would be allowed to rollout 5G technology in the country.
To date, authorities have not yet published any report on the strategic environmental assessment or publicised details of an official 5G strategy.