Cellco joins incumbent in submarine cable consortium

20 Apr 2009

Namibian mobile operator Mobile Telecommunications (MTC) has pledged investment of NAD114 million (USD13 million) in connecting the country to the West Africa Cable System (WACS), after joining the international telco consortium already committed to the submarine fibre-optic project. After signing the construction and maintenance agreement, MTC promised a contribution equivalent to 50% of the cost of the necessary infrastructure to connect Namibia to WACS, and 2.1% of the cable’s USD600 million total; Telecom Namibia previously took a 9% stake in the consortium. Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks has been contracted to supply the 14,000km undersea system, which is expected to be ready for service by mid-2011, linking South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Portugal and the UK.

MTC’s 34% owner Portugal Telecom reported that the Namibian cellco had 1.078 million customers by end-2008, whilst its annual revenues and EBITDA increased by 12.0% and 6.4% year-on-year respectively, and its EBITDA margin reached 49.9%. Post-paid users increased by 18.7% over the year, representing 7.8% of the total customer base at end-December. Monthly ARPU was NAD112.3 in 2008, a decrease of 16.0% compared to 2007, primarily as a result of volume growth over the period.

Namibia, Mobile Telecommunications (MTC)