In response to a recent report published by Cable.co.uk, which shows that Namibia has one of the most expensive broadband prices in the world,
Telecom Namibia says a lot of countries subsidise broadband prices to make them cheaper.
“In some countries, governments are subsidising broadband infrastructure, like in Botswana and Australia that I know of,” Telecom Namibia Chief Executive Officer, Theo Klein, told the Windhoek Observer in an interview.
“I see Botswana is not featuring in the results, which by demographics and economy is more comparable to Namibia. South Africa does have scales of economy and a highly industrialised economy which helps to bring down the unit cost of production.”
He said South Africa has for a long time been connected to undersea cables compared to Namibia, with local prices approximately twice as costly compared to the neighbouring country.
“We only got connected by one undersea cable as recent as 2012. Our Speedlink Home packages 1 Mb/s – 6 Mb/s cost N$ 499 (SA) Namibia (N$ 1099). Our Speedlink Lite packages 1 Mb/s – 10 Mb/s N$ 349 (SA) and N$1584(Namibia),” he said.
Klein said the 10 Mb/s package in SA is about N$790, while it costs N$990 in Namibia.
Telecom announced recently that it is upgrading the speeds of its Speedlink broadband products free of charge.
The company is also introducing a minimum download speed of 1 Megabit per second (Mbps) as entry-level package nationwide, totally doing away with the 512 kbps package.
Telecom is planning to upgrade the Speedlink broadband packages for both residential and business customers with 512 kbps upgraded to 1 Mbps, 1 Mbps upgraded to 2 Mbps, 2 Mbps upgraded to 4 Mbps, and so forth.
Customers with a 10 Mbps Speedlink broadband package will not be upgraded, but will receive a price reduction since they are already at the threshold of the package ranges.
The migration to higher speeds, which began on 27 November, will take place in a phased approach, the company said.
Telecom Namibia upgraded customers’ Speedlink access in 2012 and again in 2014 for free to coincide with the landing of the West African Cable System (WACS) in order to facilitate access to faster internet connectivity as well as to enable customers to access media content such as video, music and seamless live streaming.
Calvin Muniswaswa, Chief Commercial Officer at Telecom said this new initiative is a step further in ensuring that Namibia progresses at faster speeds and creates opportunities for locals to make economic gains using ICT services.
The UK based research group, Cable.co.uk, last week said in parts of Africa, monthly broadband packages cost more than the national minimum wage.
In Nigeria, for example, the US$80 average cost of monthly broadband packages is nearly double the national minimum wage of US$50 (18,000 naira), data from the broadband pricing table compiled by Cable.co.uk show.
Of the 36 African countries analysed, only seven countries had monthly broadband packages cheaper than US$50.
The pricing table was compiled and analysed using the cost of over 3,000 individual broadband packages globally in an eight-week period between August and October. The global prices were gathered by BDRC Continental, a research consultancy in the UK.
The report said Burkina Faso props up the global pricing table with average monthly costs pegged at US$973,15 times the monthly minimum wage.
Three other African countries, Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, are included in the global bottom ten.