Wi-way or the highway for farmers

9 Jan 2012

The Namibian newspaper reports that farmers in some southern areas of Namibia covered by a new WiMAX network have had their existing phone services disconnected. Farmers complaining to Telecom Namibia that their phone lines were inactive since the end of October 2011 were reportedly told that the reason was the national telco’s new WiMAX wireless broadband network, providing voice and high speed internet services, although users claimed they were not informed in advance of the decision to discontinue legacy phone systems. The rural users said Telecom compelled them to subscribe to its new WiMAX voice packages or to be left without a phone service, while the telco’s head of public relations, Oiva Angula, said the company had to upgrade its network because the old system had become obsolete and was not financially viable. In response to claims that the WiMAX service is not affordable, Angula said that Telecom had reviewed rental fees, and that a WiMAX package offering voice services and internet access was available for a monthly fee of NAD199 (USD23.70). The legacy voice service cost farmers NAD91 a month. Angula also said that WiMAX infrastructure will be deployed countrywide, adding that there are currently 64 WiMAX base stations in the country; he disclosed that the construction of four additional WiMAX base stations at Okuruso, Okondjatu, St Elmo and Leonardville were currently ‘under consideration’.

Namibia, Telecom Namibia (incl. TN Mobile)