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Communications Regulatory Authority sticks to its guns – Upholds Telecommunications Service Licence decision

Communications Regulatory Authority sticks to its guns – Upholds Telecommunications Service Licence decision

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has decided to uphold its decision to award the City of Windhoek with a Class Comprehensive Telecommunications Service Licence, despite objections from various stakeholders.

Chairperson of the CRAN Board of Directors, Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II on Tuesday said they will impose additional licence conditions to address stakeholder comments to ensure fair competition, infrastructure sharing, which will result in overall lower cost of infrastructure development by other licensees and thus translate into lower prices for the telecommunications end-consumer.

“Ultimately the award of a licence to Council will increase access to telecommunications and advanced information services at just, reasonable and affordable prices,” he added..

Gaomab II said they decided to stick to their decision even though members of the public raised critical issues and an analysis of the comments submitted demonstrated that stakeholders are concerned that the award of a license to the Council will allow it to enter the telecommunication fibre market and they will enjoy preference to land rights.

“Stakeholders also emphasised that Council will enjoy the dominant position in land ownership and infrastructure development, which will disadvantage other industry players,” he added.

He said they can only refuse to award a licence on the grounds of public interest, national security, technical constraints due to the limited availability of frequencies, the lack of technical and financial capability or the fact that Council has been subject to penalties referred to in Section 115(4).

He further said the Council has compiled with all prescribed requirements, thus the Communication Act does not prohibit institutions established in terms of the Local Authorities Act from applying for or being granted telecommunication licences.

“Consequently, it is not our mandate to ensure that local authorities comply with the Commercialisation of Regulation and adherence to the said regulation is not a requirement for the award of a telecommunications service license,” he emphasised.

According to Gaomab II  the Authority does not have the jurisdiction to enforce compliance with the Commercialisation Regulation made under the Local Authorities Act.


 

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.