Namibia: Telecom Namibia's Broadband Subscriptions Up 14 Percent

By the end of the 2020 financial year, Telecom Namibia had managed to increase fixed broadband service subscriptions by 14%, and in turn, fixed broadband services' revenue grew with 7%, while mobile service subscribers grew with 13%. This was partly due to an initiative to introduce 61 4.5G mobile service base stations by swopping out old base stations to ease congestion, and to accommodate more customers.

This strategy was explained last week by outgoing Telecom Namibia chairman Jerry Muadinohamba, who said by the end of the 2020 financial year, Telecom made a profit after tax of N$10.883 million. As such, the company was able to declare a preference share dividend of N$2.721 million at its annual general meeting held on 13 April.

Meanwhile, for the first trimester of 2021, Telecom reported that Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) at the end of February 2021 stood at N$94.5 million, with a profit before tax of N$15.6 million, compared to a budgeted loss before tax of N$1.3 million.

Moreover, operational expenditure reflected a positive variance of N$2.5 million (or 0.63%), while total revenue stood at N$632.4 million, exceeding the target of N$628.7 million (or 0.58%). The company recorded a Gross Profit margin of 80.14%, against a target of 79.55%.

"We also fast-tracked the strategic initiative to be consumer- centric. A new customer care contact centre system is being implemented, and is showing positive results in terms of customer responsiveness. The new system is integrated to social media and email channels to ensure speedier responses. The full system is expected to be launched in September," said Muadinohamba.

Meanwhile, under its Women-in-Tech programme, Telecom aims to continue ensuring that suitably qualified women receive training and development opportunities, with ultimate career succession opportunities into exco and senior management levels. Said Muadinohamba: "The current male to female ratio stands at 38:10, and requires to be addressed. Under the Telecom electricians programme, Telecom graduated seven new employees, two of whom are female, under our Women-in-Tech programme. As the outgoing board, we believe we set a new direction and standard in this regard by putting this programme in place, a programme on which the new board can build".

Telecom also embarked on a major tower rollout strategy aimed at ensuring rural connectivity. Under the group strategy with PowerCom, the company started the groundbreaking ceremonies for new mobile tower sites in Eenghodi and Kupferquelle, both in the Oshikoto region; and Onkani in the Omusati region. These projects were expected to be completed by beginning of May 2021.

"Looking outside our borders, we have a strong focus on the Zambian market through existing partnerships with a "Carrier of Carriers". Under the "strategic partnership" initiative, we concluded and activated an Indefeasible Right of Use or IRU agreement with MTN Global Connect, from Swakopmund to Sesheke, for 10 Gig capacity on the West Africa Cable System or WACS which is worth over N$44.4 million, for over 10 years. To date, we have received a Non-Recurring Charge of N$29 million," Muadinohamba stated.

He added that Telecom also embarked on an interconnection agreement with Angola Telecom for voice and Interconnect Protocol, or IP business. This arrangement is supported by a bilateral co-operation agreement between the two governments. To date, Telecom Namibia has established physical interconnection infrastructure at the northern border, while Angola Telecom is in the process of establishing the required infrastructure.

"All these regional initiatives are part of the strategic imperative to ensure that we reduce Namibia's foreign trade deficit by ensuring we trade within the SADC region, and improve on the export of Namibia's trade in ICT services," said the outgoing chairman.

In addition, Telecom ensured fast internet connection for tertiary students via the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF). In this regard, Telecom was appointed to handle mobile student packages for online learning, a deal worth over N$19 million.

The incoming board of directors at Telecom Namibia is being led by Melkizeedek Uupindi as chairperson, and Amanda Patricia Hauuanga as deputy chairperson. Additional members are Rowan Klientjies, Fernando Somaeb and Melanie Tjijenda.

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