By Charmaine Ngatjiheue
Telecom Namibia is finalising plans to host Mobile Virtual Network Operators on its 3G and LTE network, which may rake in millions for all parties involved.
Telecom entered the Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) model agreement with MTN Namibia and Demshi Investment Holdings.
Theo Klein, Telecom Namibia’s managing director, confirmed the plan to The Namibian, saying both Demshi Investment Holdings and MTN Namibia had shown interest to use Telecom Namibia’s network under the MVNO model.
Klein stressed that although the model is yet to be finalised, a number of licencees have approached Telecom to host them on the system.
“We are working on this model to ensure that we make our network available to other, smaller telecommunication licence holders. We, however, want to ensure that the model will be in line with regulations because different licencees would utilise our infrastructure,” he said.
MVNOs can help grow the 085 number, but licencees may also use their own numbers on Telecom’s network.
Werner Shilunga, Demshi Investment Holdings’ owner, said MVNOs provide the best mobile telecommunications model to enter a market, especially in a market like Namibia, where numbers are small, yet at the same time there is huge potential and appetite for a differential mobile proposition, based on innovation and customer service.
He added that an MVNO is aimed at providing mobile services to a specific segment of the market, and not across the board, like the current operators.
Demshi’s aim is to aggressively penetrate a specific segment of the market, and hopefully capture a sizeable percentage of that specific segment through innovative mobile offerings and world-class customer services.
“Demshi has been in discussions with Telecom for close to three years now. Being hosted as an MVNO on the Telecom network would allow us to leverage on the massive 3G and LTE network of Telecom for purposes of providing our own tailor-made mobile telecommunication services,” Shilunga explained.
He added that if all goes well, the public can expect a new mobile telecommunications operator to enter the Namibian market through an MVNO model with the 082 number in the next six months.
Moreover, the Communications Act makes provision for the implementation of number portability.
Shilunga said number portability is aimed at levelling the playing field from an operator’s perspective, adding that most people are attached to their number, “and number portability will make it easier for new entrants like Demshi to attract potential subscribers with good service and innovative products without the subscribers losing their numbers.”
He added that with the infrastructure sharing and number portability regulations as well as the numbering plan, the Namibian mobile telecommunications sector, and the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia specifically, has made it attractive to invest in the mobile sector.