MTC questions awarding of MTN licence

No point for us both to have towers, MTN says

04 August 2021 | Technology

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

MTC is questioning on what basis South African telecommunications giant MTN was initially awarded a licence.

The two companies are currently at loggerheads over the use of MTC’s infrastructure, which will allow MTN to roll-out its services in Namibia.

Hitting out at the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), MTC questioned on what basis MTN was granted its licence back in 2014. At the time, the Namibia Communication Commission awarded the licence.

MTN had approached CRAN over its insistence to have MTC share its network. MTC then told CRAN that MTN did not provide sufficient information on why it wants to use the infrastructure.

The Namibian telecommunications giant also accused CRAN of entertaining MTN’s compliant despite it not being forthcoming with information requested for the use of the network.

“MTN… did not provide the manner in which network elements should be provided, yet CRAN entertained the dispute declared,” MTC’s head of legal affairs, Patience, Kanalelo said.

Worth noting

“It is worth noting at this stage that MTN has held this licence for seven years and, as such, must have presented a network that it will ‘operate, construct or use’ when it was granted the licence,” Kanalelo said.

MTC’s understanding was that MTN’s request for infrastructure-sharing was for a full network.

“The infrastructure-sharing request from MTN is for a full network and it was confirmed … that MTN has no network of its own to provide the intended telecommunication service. The question that would then be required to be answered by CRAN is on what basis was the licence accordingly awarded?” Kanalelo asked.

“CRAN could answer that at the time, MTN’s intention was to provide fixed services, despite the fact that spectrum licences awarded to date are for mobile service provision,” she added.

No point

CRAN CEO Emilia Nghikembua said MTN had been awarded a licence in accordance with the Communications Act.

“MTN was awarded a licence by CRAN’s predecessor (the then Namibia Communications Commission) in 1998. In 2014, CRAN transitioned the licence to the new regulatory framework as provided in Section 135(5) of the Communications Act,” she said.

MTN director Vaino Nghipondoka previously said the application was made in line with the provision of Namibian and international law, which allows operators to share network infrastructure.

“The law authorises operators to share existing infrastructure. The owner of the infrastructure is entitled to a levy - to be determined by the regulator - and we are prepared to do just that.”

He added: “The underlying principle is so that the entire country is covered with mobile network. There’s no point having network towers standing beside each other – one for MTC and another for MTN – when one could be erected in Gam or another remote area.”