Strict conditions to accompany City’s telecoms licence

By Hilary Mare

THE Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has upheld its decision of April 29 to award the City of Windhoek (CoW) a class comprehensive telecommunications service licence, with additional conditions imposed, effective July 24 2020.

This was confirmed by the chairperson of the authority, Mihe Gaomab II who added that despite this CRAN shall impose conditions to address stakeholder comments to ensure fair competition and infrastructure sharing, as this will result in overall lower costs of infrastructure development by other licensees and thus translate into lower prices for the end consumer.

“Ultimately the awarding of a license to the municipality of Windhoek will increase access to telecommunications and advanced information services at reasonable and affordable prices,” Gaomab II said this week.

CRAN hosted a public hearing on July 15 on the application for reconsideration submitted by Paratus Telecommunications in May, in respect of CRAN’s decision to award a licence (ECNS and ECS) to the municipality. The licence was awarded in terms of Section 38 of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009). The application for reconsideration was submitted in terms of Section 31 of the Communications Act and Regulations 11 and 20 of the regulations regarding licensing procedures for telecommunications and broadcasting service licenses.

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“CRAN convened the public hearing in line with regulation 14 of the regulations regarding licensing procedures, which makes provision for CRAN to host a public consultative meeting to present the reasons for its decision to grant the licence, and to provide interested stakeholders an opportunity to comment, pose questions and receive clarity from CRAN on its decision to award a telecommunications service license to CoW, and on the application for reconsideration,” Gaomab II said adding that the public consultative meeting which was streamed live on various social media platforms was attended by a total of 82 stakeholders, and received approximately 2 000 views.

“Various grounds for reconsideration were considered.

The first ground of reconsideration raised is that a wrong person lodged the application on behalf of Council, an unauthorised person made the purported application, whereas the second ground of reconsideration relates to the incompleteness of the application form submitted by the City of Windhoek, the third ground for reconsideration pertains to the change of license category, where the petitioner submitted that the public was not informed that CRAN intends to award a class comprehensive telecommunications service license to the applicant.

“The fourth ground of reconsideration regards the powers of the council to apply for a telecommunications service license, and to provide telecommunications services to the public,” extended Gaomab II.