The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) said it has adopted a holistic approach to determine a roadmap for the release of spectrum for the period 2022 to 2024. This was designed to provide licensees with regulatory certainty on the available spectrum for assignment to facilitate the rollout of telecommunications networks, and implementation of emerging technologies, platforms, and applications for the benefit of the end user.
In line with the roadmap, CRAN concluded the auction for spectrum below 1 GHz on 29 September 2023 by assigning spectrum to Loc8 Mobile (Pty) Ltd (Lot A), Telecom Namibia Limited (Lot B) and Mobile Telecommunications Limited (C). The total auction proceeds for all three lots was approximately N$28,500,000.
The regulator said it is pleased with the interest expressed by the telecommunications sector to acquire this spectrum for the rollout of 4G and 5G services for urban and rural communities.
These spectrum licences will support the rollout of emerging mobile technologies, supporting both universal access in rural areas and providing for the participation of all Namibians 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. These regions currently have 4G population coverage of below 80%, and the conditions imposed shall 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 for the attainment of the fourth industrial revolution,” stated Mrs Emilia Nghikembua, CRAN’s Chief Executive.
The new spectrum licences also test the depth of the water for the introduction of project-specific 5G installations in agriculture, education, health and e-government services. In this regard, CRAN authorised the testing/trial for 5G services/networks for a period of three months, until 31 December 2023.
“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,” stated Nghikembua.
Source : Economist