MTC expands LTE to pre-paid, upgrades 3G to fend off TN Mobile competition

16 Dec 2013

Namibia’s largest cellular operator by users, Mobile Telecommunications (MTC), has responded to last month’s arrival of 4G LTE competition from rival Telecom Namibia (TN Mobile), with the launch of ‘MTC Netman 4G Time’ pre-paid LTE data packages, which augment its existing range of post-paid 4G packages and add-on data bundles. The new time-based – as opposed to volume-based – pre-paid mobile broadband internet product promises speeds of ‘up to 100Mbps’ and is charged at NAD30 (USD2.90) per hour, while pre-paid customers are offered MTC’s 4G LTE USB device and data SIM card for a one-off price of NAD298. In a press release, MTC’s corporate affairs officer Tim Ekandjo highlighted that MTC’s Netman 3G service has also been upgraded – with post-paid peak speeds now available at up to 21Mbps (HSPA+), and the pre-paid capped speed limit now increased to 7.2Mbps. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that MTC last made an upgrade to its 3G top-speed in December 2009 when it raised performance to 7.2Mbps (downlink) and 1.4Mbps (uplink). Ekandjo added the claim that MTC’s 4G LTE has the widest country coverage available, in Windhoek and eight other cities: Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo, Keetmanshoop, Outapi, Ongwediva, Oshakati and Tsumeb. As reported by CommsUpdate, last month rival TN Mobile launched its LTE 4G network in Windhoek and other urban centres including Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Langstrand, Henties Bay, Ondangwa, Ongwediva, Oshakati, Ohangwena and Oshikango. TN Mobile also claimed ‘up to 100Mbps’ 4G speeds at launch for all pre- and post-paid subscribers, while its 21Mbps (HSPA+) 3G service initially trumped the previous MTC maximum 3G data rate of 7.2Mbps. TN Mobile is bundling in free Wi-Fi hotspot coverage (also at ‘up to 100Mbps’) which MTC does not currently include in its packages. MTC launched commercial 4G LTE in May 2012 in Windhoek and by mid-2013 had expanded the network to an estimated 40% of the population including the capital and eight other cities, GlobalComms adds.