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Communication regulator welcomes competition

Member of Parliament, Hon Lucia Witbooi speaking at the launch of CRAN’s strategic plan for 2012 to 2015. (Photograph contributed by CRAN)

Member of Parliament, Hon Lucia Witbooi speaking at the launch of CRAN’s strategic plan for 2012 to 2015. (Photograph contributed by CRAN)

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) is keen on welcoming new players to the ICT industry as it launched its 2012 to 2015 strategic plan this week.
Market Development and Expansion is just one of the six key strategic focus areas the two-year old communications regulating authority aims for.

CRAN spokesperson, Kayleigh de Sousa said that the recent announcement of a reduction in termination rates in mobile and fixed telecommunication is an active effort in creating a conducive environment for market expansion. Voice calls reduced to N$0.20  fr om N$0.30 while the SMS interconnection rate reduced to N$0.10 from N$0.20 over all telecommunication providers. Sousa further added that CRAN ultimately hopes for more competition and in that way the market will regulate itself against unfair competition. During his speech CRAN CEO Stanley Shanapinda said that creating a level playing field for all service providers by promoting fair competition in the sector is to the long-term benefit of the national ICT sector. This will see competitors such as telecommunication companies obliged to share their infrastructure by giving notice to each other. Shanapinda said CRAN envisages new infrastructure sharing rules by the third quarter of next year. With internet access and usage covering 13.4% of Namibians over the age of 15 and affordability of ICT services standing at less than 15% of Gross National Income, CRAN is hopeful that their strategic plan transforms the Namibian ICT market in terms of competitiveness and affordability. Board Chairperson of CRAN Lazarus Jacobs said at the launch of the strategic plan that CRAN’s ambitious time line is due Namibia’s ICT not being globally competitive. Jacobs added that ICT contributes 2.9% to GDP with an estimated ICT market value of N$4 billion. “It is time that we gear ourself to become globally competitive and our regulatory environment is an enabler and not an inhibitor for national economic growth and development based on the ICT sector.” ICT specialist and Board Member of the International Communication Association Dr Rohan Samarajiva, on invitation of CRAN, focused on issues of consumer protection. On Consumer Advocacy and Protection, CRAN said it has witnessed an increase in consumer complaints to the regulator as part of its focus on consumer protection and advocacy. CRAN wants to ensur that consumers receive service in its entirety while protected against exploitation. Namibia is currently ranked 83 out of 142 countries in the world by the World Economic Forum Global Competitive Index, 92 out of 144 for ICT Readiness and 109 out of 155 for ICT Development.

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