Namibia's mobile phone network coverage has increased to 95 percent, while mobile subscriptions are at 119.16 per 100 people, the prime minister said.
Saara Kuungogelwa-Amadhila said this when she officially opened the 4th National ICT Summit in Windhoek. The information ministry is organizing the three-day summit with the theme "Leveraging ICT to Unlock Economic Opportunities for an Inclusive Society."
Kuungogelwa-Amadhila said Namibia's active mobile broadband subscribers increased from 1.5 million to 1.6 million people from June 2016 to June 2017. "Penetration of telecommunication services has improved rapidly due to the introduction of effective regulatory interventions aimed to ensure fair competition and consumer protection," she said.
The interventions, she added, resulted in the reduction of termination rates from one Namibia dollar and six cents (8 U.S. cents) to 10 Namibia cents (1 U.S. cent). She also said the introduction of the National Numbering Plan for mobile phones means that portability allows fixed and mobile numbers to move from one licensee to another without losing their number.
According to her, modern, reliable digital technologies and applications can significantly contribute to the economic strength, societal well-being and effective governance. "ICTs have brought new opportunities to people of all ages and in all countries, enabling them to achieve more in less time and to discover new ways of communicating and relaxing," she said.
Kuungogelwa-Amadhila, however, said that the benefits of ICT had not been spread equally as hoped. She pointed out that the failure to spread ICT benefits is a result of the unavailability of electricity in rural areas and the insufficient telecommunications backhaul infrastructure.
The prime minister added that the high cost of rolling out infrastructure as well as the low ICT literacy rate was inhibiting the uptake of e-commerce and internet access. "We are convinced that if all stakeholders work together, we can create new opportunities and leverage the power of ICTs to help people everywhere in our country," she concluded.