Communications regulator celebrates 7 years of existence
The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) celebrated 7 of existence on Friday. CRAN is an independent regulator established in terms of Section 4 of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009) to regulate, supervise and promote the provision of telecommunications services and networks, broadcasting, postal services and the use and allocation of radio spectrum in Namibia.
On 18 May 2011, CRAN was created by stature as a successor of the Namibia Communications Commission (NCC), which was operational from 1992 until 2008. CRAN commenced business with five employees and seven years down the line boasts of over 50 employees
“CRAN attained numerous achievements through its firm regulatory framework and to date issued 26 Telecommunications Service Licenses and 36 Broadcasting Service Licenses providing a wide array of services which paves the way for establishing a level playing field in the ICT industry in the country”, said Festus K Mbandeka, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CRAN.
Emerging as a pioneer in the field, CRAN aided the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) switchover process and finalised the first national frequency band plan and the first national numbering plan which amongst other is being used by other Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regulators as a benchmark. The numbering plan, upon implementation, will afford consumers an opportunity to move with ease from one network to another with their fixed and mobile numbers without losing their number.
CRAN implemented Quality of Service, Type Approval and Infrastructure Sharing Regulations, while introducing new service license categories. The Infrastructure Sharing regulations opened the door for new service providers like Mobile, Virtual, Network Operators (MVNO’s) and the possibility of national roaming. In addition, the Authority made headway with universal service provision. Regulations prescribing the provision of universal service for telecommunications service licensees have been finalised and published in Government Gazette dated 8 May 2018.
“CRAN has imposed additional obligations on telecommunications licensees applying for additional 3G spectrum licences which accelerated coverage and improved quality of service to under and unserved areas after CRAN has done a GAP Analysis to identify all the area’s that lack access to ICT services. The development of three (3) frequency channelling plans that aids the implementation of digital sound broadcasting (DSB) for radio broadcasting services and the additional obligations for licensees are aligned to the ICT objectives set out in the National Overarching ICT Policy, Harambee Prosperity Plan and the 5th National Development Plan,” added Mbandeka.
The digitalization and the introduction of the 4th generation (LTE) technology in the country while facilitating changes in communication technology are but some of the achievements attained. The publication of various market reports, a licensee data base that is easily accessible (on www.cran.na), the reduction in termination rates and the achievement of 120% mobile penetration rate in the country was all achieved in 7 years.
The Authority has an interactive website, which boasts various features such as the telecommunications database, which is accessed through a portal and a tariff calculator. The database allows telecommunications services providers to submit tariff applications online as well as their Annual Reports and audited financial statements. The tariff calculator allows users to specify their personal average usage per month in terms of voice minutes, SMS and data for prepaid and post-paid packages.
Lastly, the Authority received numerous awards ranging from the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Golden Key Award for being the most open and transparent public institution with universal access to information, and an award at the 7th Institute of People Management (IPM) for the company which employs the most student interns.
CRAN has challenged barriers to communication in Namibia and has continued to grow, attaining numerous successes along the way that are worth celebrating. In addition to reflecting on the past, CRAN looks forward to the future and hopes to continue to address the challenges that arise in meeting the demands of the ever-evolving ICT industry.
“We hope to accomplish our missions and objectives in line with national and international priorities, while simultaneously encouraging our backbone, our employees, to continue to grow in their professions. By continuing to operate with transparency, we hope our relationship with consumers continues to blossom to ensure that we are held accountable to our mandate” said Mbandeka.
“Gratitude is extended to CRAN’s valued stakeholders, namely licensees, consumers, the Board of Directors, management and staff for walking this successful journey with CRAN and for supporting the Authority for the past 7 years as we Push ICT forward in Namibia. CRAN believes that its employees are the most important asset. Thus it must look after them in all aspects, so as to ensure a healthy and sound working environment and to ensure continuity and sustainability of the organisation” concluded Mbandeka.