Mobile Telecommunications (MTC), Namibia’s largest mobile network operator (MNO) by subscribers, has revealed that its 081Every1 project to expand network coverage throughout the country has been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Xinhuanet. Speaking at the publication of the company’s 2019/2020 annual report in Windhoek, MTC CEO Licky Erasmus revealed that whereas phase one of the project, comprising the activation of 111 rural and 21 urban cell sites, was successfully completed in June 2020 despite COVID-19-related restrictions, the schedule for deploying an additional 91 rural cell towers in phase two has now been pushed back from May 2021 to 2023. The NAD1 billion (USD67 million) 081Every1 project launched in July 2017 aims to achieve 100% population coverage and reduce the urban-rural digital divide by installing 524 new cell sites, mainly in rural areas.
The executive also confirmed that MTC’s plans to list on the Namibian Stock Exchange in 2020 have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has now been granted permission by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Nambia (CRAN) to delay the listing until no later than 5 September 2022.