Namibia: MTC Rubbishes Aweh Idea Theft Claims

4 September 2020

Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) has rubbished allegations by a Keetmanshoop resident who accused the company of stealing and implementing his idea of simultaneously using more than one Aweh product.

Willem Gert Eiman claimed he proposed the idea to MTC around 26 April 2017. His lawyers are now demanding a sum of N$3 million to be deposited into their trust account within 30 days.

MTC executive Tim Ekandjo acknowledged Eiman made contact with an MTC employee in 2017 in an attempt to pitch his idea to the company.

However, his idea was not entertained, as MTC had already since May 2015 started designing the concept of multiple Awehs, Ekandjo said.

"There was, therefore, no need to entertain an idea that we were already in the process of perfecting. It should be noted that although we developed the idea in 2015, MTC, as a business, had a roadmap on when to launch the product, looking at the opportune time based on customer and market behavior," explained Ekandjo.

Furthermore, he said, MTC launched the multiple Aweh product in May 2020, allowing customers to purchase multiple Awehs at any given time as long as customers do not have more than three Aweh subscriptions.

According to him, the product is also substantially different from the idea the customer pitched on their product.

Ekandjo said MTC did not enter into any agreement with the customer and that the Aweh product and its subsequent evolution were originally designed by MTC and, therefore, they will not entertain any such claims and reserve their rights in this matter.

"I wish to put it on record that the MTC Aweh product is a very unique and innovative offering of MTC in Africa and a product that has proudly been designed by our internal products and solutions team. The subscription-based offering on prepaid was introduced to Southern Africa as a first by MTC," he said.

Ekandjo also explained that MTC recently inaugurated its innovation centre to encourage innovation.

"Once a solution is proposed through this platform, the necessary paperwork would be in place to ensure the originality of the idea is protected and acknowledged - but that customer cannot randomly claim MTC ideas."

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