Wednesday 12 May 2021
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Namibia amongst most expensive globally for data

With Namibia ranked as one of the top 10 countries globally where data prices are expensive, Namibians continue to decry the cost of accessing the internet.

A survey of 196 countries released in December found that many of the world’s poorest consumers are being forced to pay sky-high costs for fixed broadband services, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

The world’s most expensive fixed line broadband services are to be found in the western African state of Burkina Faso, where the average monthly cost of a broadband package is around $965 (£730), putting internet access out of reach of all but the wealthiest members of the country’s elite, according to a survey.

It also found that consumers in countries across sub-Saharan Africa were frequently being charged well over $100 per month, including Angola, Gabon, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Somalia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Namibia have in recent months complained over the high cost of data, many feel the cost of data has limited information sharing.

In Namibia, mobile service providers such as MTN, MTC, TN mobile and Paratus Telecom service over one million data users at varying costs.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA last week announced a wide-range of changes around data expiry, the changes include mobile operators now being compelled to notify subscribers when their data falls below 50%, 80% and 100% depletion levels; to rollover unused data; to allow the transfer of data within a network and to stop charging expensive out-of-bundle rates without customer consent.

In a report released last year by MTC’s Chief Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Officer Tim Ekandjo, said the decision to increase its Aweh Bundles and that of their Netman Bundles by 7% as from last year June was made pursuant to the terms and conditions as set out in the communication act, 2009 section 53, subsection as mandatory by the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia.

“It is worth noting that this is the first such price increase in 11 years and during this period MTC has maintained its operations of the highest standard with the continued aim of increasing efficiencies and ensuring its customers receive world-class products and services. This review in pricing is the result of the challenging environment in which MTC operates, coupled with a reduction in mobile termination rates as well the increased cost of network investment,” said Ekandjo.

The biggest mobile operator back then increased its Oka Aweh package from N$6 N$7 for 20 MB per week, Aweh Go from N$ 12- N$ 13 for 50 MB per week, Aweh Prime from N$ 30- N$ 32 for 200 MB per week, Aweh Gig from N$ 30- N$ 32 for 500 MB, Aweh Super from N$ 50- N$ 53 for 700 MB.

As for TN Mobile, a browse through their website pledged its commitment to provide affordable internet accessibility.

TN mobile charges N$ 999 for 90 GB per month and N$ 149 for 3 GB per month doing this by driving the Nation to access information via mobile devices allowing the Nation to tap into opportunities in Education, personal improvement and industry.

According to the statistics from research body, ICT solutions in 2018, PARATUS Telecommunications has cut its data rates by 83,4% offering the most affordable data bundles to Namibians at N$ 15 per gigabytes, the data rates on all of Paratus LTE 4G, WiMAX, Fibre packages dropped from N$85 to N$15 per gigabyte.

Namibia is ranked 29th out of 52 African countries when it comes to mobile prepaid rates per month.

Paratus is focused mainly on contributing daily to providing consumers with various internet and telecommunication services, it values the importance of affordable internet access to all sectors.

Their data bundles are valid for 30 days which is a month, 1 GB for N$ 15, 5 GB for N$ 75, 10 GB for N$ 150, 50 GB for N$ 750, 20 GB for N$ 300, and 30 GB for N $ 450 and 40 GB for N $ 600.

According to RIA’s African Mobile price RAMP index, South Africa’s cheapest 1 GB package from Telkom ranks as the 25th most expensive on the continent out of 49 countries, put into context of the top 6 biggest African markets, South Africa’s data prices are by far the most expensive charging US$ 7, 60 per GB compared to second most expensive Kenya at US$ 4, 90 per GB.

MTN Business which has its footprints in 23 countries which includes the Middle East and Africa will soon commence its mobile operations in Namibia.

Across the border, MTN data bundles are charged on hourly, daily, weekly and even monthly rates. MTN is amongst the cheapest broadband service providers in South Africa.

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