Regional cellphone giants eyeing second GSM licence

16 Mar 2004

Vodacom and MTN Group, two of the African continent’s major mobile operators, are set to compete for Namibia’s second GSM licence over the next few months. Already direct competitors in the South African wireless market, both companies are keen to add Namibia to their growing portfolio of networks in other African countries. Vodacom has operations in the Congo, Lesotho, Tanzania and Mozambique, whilst the MTN Group is present in Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda and Swaziland. By law the Namibian mobile market must be opened to competition by the end of 2004. However, the country’s national assembly last week introduced new regulations to speed up the process of awarding a second GSM concession to compete with the current monopoly provider, Mobile Telecom (MTC), a joint venture between the Namibian Post and Telecoms Holdings, Swedfund International and Sweden’s Telia International. MTC currently has around 200,000 subscribers, up from 150,000 at the end of 2002.