New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Massive Investment to Boost Telecom's Market Share

Windhoek — Telecom Namibia says it would capture between 35 to 40 percent of the mobile communications market in the next five years following its acquisition of mobile company, Leo.

Telecom announced an investment of US$46 million (over N$400 million) in new infrastructure to introduce new services to the Namibian market. The state-owned Telecom acquired the financially struggling Leo for a symbolic price of N$2. The US$46 million will be financed over a six-year period, while Telecom will approach capital markets to make up for any financial shortfalls. "This project is among the biggest projects Telecom has undertaken so far. Implementation of this project will allow us not only to expand mobile services and improve quality, but it will also help satisfy the increasing demand for mobile data and make fixed-mobile convergence a reality in Namibia," said Frans Ndoroma, Telecom Namibia's Managing Director and Leo's board chairman yesterday.

A change of the Leo brand name is also on the cards in the next six months, but for now Telecom remains mum on the details. The massive investment involves the rollout of base stations in three phases, including a number of road coverage sites throughout the country.

However, the most impressive aspect of the infrastructural upgrade agenda is that the project will deliver a converged switching platform for both fixed and mobile service with an IP multimedia systems (IMS) core for personal multimedia communications, as well as both 3G and 4G radio access to expand overall coverage and data capacity.

The rollout of new infrastructure is expected to be complete towards the middle of this year. Only once the infrastructure rollout is complete would new products and services be introduced.

"We are pleased to build the Leo network on an IMS core platform. With this platform we will optimise time, resources and results on all the IP communication services, from fixed and mobile phone calls to internet access, from social networks to email," explained Ndoroma. He added that Telecom and Leo's strategic orientation is towards fixed-mobile convergence.

This means the company intends offering mobile and fixed line services to customers on a single account, sales bundles including both fixed and mobile offers as well as integrated tariffs. Ndoroma says this will offer customers a huge advantage in terms of price and quality of service.

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