State monopolises communication sector – Completes transaction to wholly own both MTC and Telecom Namibia
The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has approved the sale of 34% shares of Mobile Telecommunications Limited’s (MTC) to Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings (NPTH) for more than N$3 billion.
This comes after CRAN reviewed an application it received during June 2017, requesting for the transfer of control of the Class Comprehensive Telecommunications Service Licence (ECNS/ECS) and all Spectrum Use licences issued to Mobile Telecommunications Limited from Samba Luxco S.a.r.l. to NPTH.
“In line with section 35 of the Communications Act (No. 8of 2009), CRAN tested the transaction against the objects of the Act and found amongst others that it will result in a reduction in competition, private investment and also that it does not encourage local participation in the telecommunications market,” Festus Mbandeka, CEO of CRAN said.
The transaction will also result in the 100% ownership and control of the two dominant licensees (MTC and Telecom Namibia) by the State via NPTH.
Mbandeka said that the transfer of shares to NPTH is thus an interim arrangement pending subsequent transactions to dispose of the shares to other investors.
“The Authority’s position remains that 100% state ownership in the telecommunications sector is not in line with the market liberalization policy as enunciated in the Communications Act and that the conditions so imposed once fulfilled will have the impact of aligning the market to the policy,” Mbandeka stressed.
Business Monitor International (BMI), sighted as both mobile operators are owned by the Namibian government, the entrance of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) is a welcomed development to provide some much needed competition.
“Given the saturated nature of the market, we believe MVNOs will focus on attracting subscribers from the established operators by offering differentiated services,” BMI stated in a report.