Namibia’s wireless market leader Mobile Telecommunications (MTC) has launched commercial 4G data services over a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network covering large parts of the capital, Windhoek. MTC’s new ‘Netman 4G’ services are offered via three devices, the Samsung Galaxy TAB 8.9 LTE tablet computer, the Samsung Galaxy SII LTE smartphone and an MTC-branded 4G dongle modem. Initially, a monthly 4G data subscription costs NAD349 (USD41.50) for a ‘Netman 4G Extreme’ package with 5GB data (plus 10GB additional data per month under a promotion until 30 September 2012), with unused data rolled over to the following month, and maximum upload/download speeds of 50Mbps/25Mbps. An unlimited monthly data package, ‘Netman 4G Unlimited’, costs NAD949, with higher peak download/upload rates of 100Mbps/50Mbps. After 30 September the subscriptions for Extreme and Unlimited will revert to standard rates of NAD399 and NAD999, respectively. MTC also offers data bundles at a cost ranging from NAD0.20 to NAD0.50 per MB depending on size, compared to standard out-of-bundle rate of NAD0.90 per MB.
MTC, which is 66% state-owned with the remainder held by Portugal Telecom, announced that it intends to cover the whole of Windhoek with LTE by the end of July and to cover 45% of Namibia’s population in twelve months, including rural areas, compared to its existing 3G network which serves Windhoek, Walvisbay, Swakopmund and other main urban areas but not the large percentage of the population living in smaller or rural communities. MTC’s LTE launch was delayed whilst it waited for permission to deploy underground fibre-optic cable infrastructure to link its 4G base stations, having originally applied to Windhoek City Council in July 2010. The 4G debut follows days after another long-awaited launch, that of the West African Cable System (WACS) providing direct high speed international bandwidth to African countries including Namibia.