Telecom Namibia pledges $134m for infrastructure upgrade

Telecom Namibia pledges $134m for infrastructure upgrade

Telecom Namibia pledged to invest NAD2.3 billion (US$134m) into its infrastructure to address the country’s “urgent need” to improve low connectivity adoption and high prices.

In a statement, Telecom Namibia said it will invest the money over the next five years in its fixed and mobile infrastructure. It will begin with the core network and access technologies.

The first round of investment which amounted to US$5 million, went to the co-landing of the Google Equiano submarine cable with Paratus on July 1 this year, expanding capacity by 4Tbps. This was the second submarine cable landed by Namibia Telecom, the first was the West Africa Cable System that landed in February 2011.

The operator is positioning Namibia as a regional ICT hub for landlocked African countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and the DRC.

The next phase of the company’s investment plan will be to accelerate the rollout of fibre to upgrade its existing 10,676 km of fibre, although it did not state how much will be injected. To date, the company invested over NAD148 million in deploying fibre.

Telecom Namibia also did not detail future plans for investments in its mobile infrastructure. But stated it aims to “rapidly increase our current population coverage, and quality of service”.

The company also pledged to continue sharing infrastructure fairly with rival operators through its neutral operator PowerCom.

The state-owned operator cited a report from the World Bank Group which highlighted what the operator calls a “digital divide” in the country, caused by high data costs, low coverage and lack of stable electricity access for enterprises.

The report stated the cost of data in Namibia is “high” with an average cost of US$8.30 (NAD142.83). Mobile adoption is only at 36% which is behind its regional peers that have a penetration rate of 52%. Fibre rollout in the country is also slow with only 2.5 subscriptions per 100 citizens.

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