Staff Writer

Namibia has started the process of investigating the possibility of rolling out 5G technology in the country, with cabinet recently directing the environment ministry to conduct a thorough environmental assessment.

“Cabinet directed the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to ensure that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is undertaken and that proper assessment is made, prior to the possible introduction of 5G technology in Namibia,” information minister Peya Mushelenga said.

A strategic environmental assessment is a systematic decision support process, aiming to ensure that environmental and possibly other sustainability aspects are considered effectively in policy, plan and program making.

He also revealed that the telecommunications sector regulator, Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has also been requested to develop a 5G strategy for country.

“Cabinet directed the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to instruct the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) to expedite the development of 5G Strategy for Namibia for submission to Cabinet,” he said with no timelines given.

5G is the controversial fifth generation technology standard for cellular networks technology currently being held by Huawei, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019. It is the planned successor to the current 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current cellphones.

The announcement by Mushelenga comes as the City of Windhoek has hinted at plans to use the mobile technology to support the implementation of its ambitious ‘Smart City’ initiative.

According to the city council, the project, which is currently marred by allegations of corruption, is aimed at breaching the digital divide in city.