The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) will temporarily suspend the awarding of new telecommunications and broadcasting service licences from 1 October 2022 until 30 September 2023.
This is because CRAN is conducting a market research study on a fixed data set on the number of telecommunications and broadcasting service licensees currently in the market.
Subsequent to various stakeholder consultations in 2021, CRAN was implored to conduct a market study for the telecommunication and broadcasting sectors.
The aim of the research is to determine the current market level of competition, market saturation and any existing barriers to entry.
“CRAN conducted preliminary research by studying the preceding sector review reports and international best practicess. Through this investigation, it was determined that the envisaged market study on the telecommunication and broadcasting markets must be based on a fixed data set, particularly the number of telecommunications and broadcasting service licensees currently in the market. Therefore, it is apposite that CRAN maintains a still market in terms of market players while conducting the study,” stated CRAN CEO Emilia Nghikembua.
To mitigate the potential impact of the temporary postponement, and cognizant of the provisions of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009), CRAN will from 1 April 2022 accept new applications for telecommunications and broadcasting service licences, and consider such applications before 30 September 2022. These applications must be submitted to the Authority before 30 June 2022.
“CRAN will not accept or consider new applications for telecommunications and broadcasting service licences from 1 October 2022 until 30 September 2023. CRAN will, however, consider applications for amendment, withdrawal, transfer and cession of existing telecommunications or broadcasting service licences when practically possible – and if such shall not result in a change of the data set,” added Nghikembua.
During the duration of the market study, CRAN will accept and consider applications for spectrum licences from only existing service licensees, and it will also accept Spectrum applications for bands that are service licence exempt.
The market study research will include public stakeholder consultations, and the final report and recommendations will be submitted to the minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as per the provisions of the Communications Act.
In consultation with the ICT minister, CRAN intends to adopt and implement the conclusions of the market study to achieve a competitive market and eliminate barriers to market entry.
“While the temporary postponement of the award of new telecommunication and broadcasting service licenses will impact the business plans of prospective providers or telecommunication and broadcasting services, it is paramount that CRAN continuously intervenes in the market dynamics to ensure fair competition, and remove barriers to market entry for the benefit of consumers,” Nghikembua concluded.