Namibia’s market-leading cellco Mobile Telecommunications (MTC) wants the country’s existing moratorium on 5G network deployment to be lifted and is eyeing a digital transition towards fifth-generation technology with partners including Chinese equipment maker Huawei, reports The Namibian. With the operator having recently signed a cooperation agreement with Huawei and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), MTC spokesperson Tim Ekandjo emphasised the importance of 5G in the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), saying: ‘As we embrace and drive research and innovation, we are pleased that as a country we have completed an impactful 4IR conference that kick-starts Namibia’s exciting journey on the fourth Industrial Revolution. It is important that a conducive policy framework is in place to stimulate participation rather than inhibiting it. We must note that 5G is a fundamental platform for 4IR … 5G combines greater data transfer speeds and heightened processing power to enable IoT connectivity on a massive scale. It would have a significant impact on every aspect of our digital lives. With 5G comes high data rates, reduced latency, energy savings, cost reductions … Sadly, we still have a moratorium on 5G in Namibia, and it is rather unfortunate that a country that has always been first in rolling out such technologies has now become the last due to conspiracy theories that have never made sense in the first place.’ The report added that Ekandjo is engaged in urging the government to lift the moratorium.
NUST vice chancellor Erold Naomab said of the new tripartite agreement: ‘We are proud to extend our partnership with MTC to Huawei under the framework of the Smart Campus Initiative. As partners, we are all committed to pooling resources, expertise, and networks to improve competitiveness through trans-disciplinary research, co-creation and co-development, application and transfer of specialised knowledge, and technology aligned with NUST’s signature programme.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that MTC has long argued its mobile spectrum allocation is not commensurate with its subscription base, resulting in consistent struggles with capacity issues which hinder its ability to provide 3G and 4G services in underserved areas as well as inhibiting the launch of 5G services in the future, with the cellco stating that it will require a 100MHz block of 3.5GHz spectrum to deploy 5G.