Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN)’s Executive for Communication and Consumer Relations, Katrina Sikeni, talks to Observer Money about SIM card, fixed internet connection, losing data by subscribers and postal services.
Observer Money (OM): Does CRAN foresee active SIM cards continuing to decrease in the third quarter?
Katrina Sikeni (KS): Kindly note that the Authority foresees active SIM cards to be relatively stable in the third quarter because, mandatory SIM card registration due date is on 31 December 2023, contributing to a sense of equilibrium within the market.
Additionally, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have innovatively introduced a diverse range of prepaid offerings, enabling customers to conveniently access multiple services under a single SIM card.
OM: What is the forecast on the fixed internet connection, there seems to be growing competition in this area with the expansion by Telecom, MTC and Paratus?
(KS): The Authority observed a growing trajectory within the realm of fixed internet connectivity, particularly in the form of fibre-optic technology.
There is therefore growing competition given the expansion by operators. One significant trend to watch is the likelihood of customers switching between different service providers, which could have a notable impact on the industry’s competition.
OM: The issue of losing data by subscribers has always been a hot topic, how is CRAN addressing this issue?
KS: CRAN has a Consumer Complaints Procedures that enables aggrieved ICT consumers to first approach their service provider to resolve the problem. If the problem is not resolved after 14 days, ICT consumers may approach CRAN. Ensure to keep all correspondence with service providers as evidence. The Consumer Complaint form is accessible from our website.
OM: In terms of revenue, how are the companies doing given the growing
KS: The performance of companies in the ICT sector in terms of revenue is influenced by various factors, including their ability to innovate, adaptto competition and meet the changing needs of customers. Some companies have managed to prosper in this environment, while others may face more significant challenges. The overall overview is that revenue has increased by 16 percent over the last six years.
OM: Talk to us about postal services, are they dying or are they moving with the times?
KS: Postal services are not dying but are evolving. They are finding new ways to meet the needs of the modern world, including embracing technology, diversifying their services, and adjusting to changing patterns of communication and commerce. While the traditional model of mail delivery is declining; postal services are far from obsolete and remain an essential part of the global logistics and communication infrastructure.
Additionally, Nampost, the national postal operator, offers a comprehensive range of services, including postal, banking, courier, philately, agency, and money transfer services. They have performed
well compared to other players in Africa due to their diverse and converged services offering.
CRAN’s involvement in regional initiatives like Digital SADC 2027, SADC Postal Strategy, and e-Commerce Strategy fosters socio-economic development through accessible and reliable services. With the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), trade barriers are expected to be reduced, promoting the free movement of goods and services across African nations. This presents an opportunity for the Namibian postal industry to expand its reach and services.
OM: Do we have new investors wanting to enter the Namibian communications market?
KS: The Authority is in talks with investors seeking to invest in satellite services. Satellite services are important in improving coverage and the cost of connectivity, especially for our country’s topology. Additionally, the Authority has reduced the spectrum fees in October 2023 for satellite services to compliment operators that want to provide satellite services to remote areas. Moreover, there are opportunities for investment in ICT infrastructure in general.