MTC launches 5G trial

Martin Endjala

Namibia, through Mobile Telecommunication Limited (MTC) in collaboration with Huawei Technology, has today officially launched its first-ever fifth-generation (5G) trial intended to test the technology’s capabilities before commercialising it, with a set date yet to be announced.

This follows the lifting of the moratorium on 5G by the government and the successful allocation of 5G spectrum by the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) to telecommunication players in Namibia.

The plan was halted a few years ago due to conspiracy theories that 5G causes radiation-related illness and COVID-19. This prompted the cabinet to temporarily prohibit it for further investigations.

During her remarks at the launch in Windhoek, Information and Communications Minister, Emma Teofelus, said Namibia needs to adopt the latest technology to drive national development and cannot afford to remain behind.

“This trial is groundbreaking and historic. It symbolises Namibia’s stride and commitment to putting technology at the centre of driving the national development agenda. Namibia is pursuing to be industrialised by the year 2030, and as technology keeps evolving, we can only achieve that vision if we keep up with the latest technology that can aid and is favourable towards the fourth industrial revolution.

As a government, we assure you our commitment to continuously review, reform, and or enact policies needed to facilitate the national development agenda,” she said.

The minister highlighted that the opportunities that come with 5G are vast, and the onus is upon industry role players to ensure that they take full leverage, because with 5G, the foundation for providing e-governance, e-commerce, and e-health is cemented with superior and faster connectivity.

Theofelus conceded that compared to peers in the region, Namibia has fallen behind in adopting 5G technology, hence she advised that the nation needs to always keep abreast and apprised on serious trends to avoid falling for fabricated propaganda meant to delay development.

Speaking at the same occasion, MTC Managing Director Licky Erastus, the company is proud to have successfully trialled the 5G network connectivity.

“Our full roll-out implementation, commercialisation and go-to-market strategy are pending,” he said.

Erastus highlighted that MTC’s future focus is to bring superior and faster connectivity to business enterprises that aim to innovate, enhance their operations, and deliver improved stakeholder satisfaction.

Additionally, in its digital drive to facilitate innovation, digitalisation, and the Internet of Things amongst others, Erastus believes smart cooperation is indispensable.

Emphasising that through a partnership with Huawei Technology, the long-term perspective is to provide a technological ecosystem underpinned by 5G; upon which a backbone of the Namibian digital economy is formed.

Preceding the imminent 5G full rollout, he said the trial is essential, and they are pleased with the speed results which is 1.4 gigabits per second.

Managing Director of Huawei Namibia Michael Zhang, said Huawei, is committed to working closely with MTC to deploy cutting-edge technologies to ensure fast and high-quality 5G deployments and to innovate together by bringing more 5G services to the people, communities, companies and industries.

Zhang believes 5G will be a significant driver and enabler of the social and digital life and the economy of the country.

For consumers, this means higher-quality video and multimedia content can be delivered faster via increased capacity and bandwidth, and for businesses, this means the potential to transform performance and user experience beyond what is currently possible with existing network capabilities.

Including mobile broadband, fixed wireless, and industrial applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality (AR).

The 5G technology is touted as a revolutionary game-changer that guarantees low latency, higher capacity, and increased bandwidth that brings maximum efficiency to conducting business.

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