MTC attacks takeover proposal

15 Jun 2006

Namibia’s sole mobile operator, Mobile Telecommunications (MTC), yesterday spoke out against an alleged takeover plan by state-owned PTO Telecom Namibia. MTC told a parliamentary committee that Telecom wanted to ‘grab MTC’s cash’, that it aimed to acquire the cellco as a quick-fix solution to its own financial woes, and that the resultant monopoly would be to the detriment of consumers. Local newspaper The Namibian reported that in 2005 Telecom Namibia submitted a proposal to parliament to make MTC its subsidiary as part of the envisaged restructuring of its parent, the wholly state-owned Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings (NPTH). The proposed new shareholding structure would see Telecom take 51% of MTC. Legislation prevents Telecom from having direct subsidiaries, but the telco is alleged to be lobbying for the law to be changed. MTC is currently owned by NPTH (66%) and Portugal Telecom (34%), the latter buying its stake in a government auction in March 2006. MTC will soon face competition from Powercom, a joint venture between Norway’s Telenor and domestic utility NamPower, which was awarded the country’s second mobile licence in May 2006.