NAMIBIAParatus, a telecommunication service provider, and MTN have signed a national roaming agreement in Namibia, the first of its kind in this Southern African nation.

The integration of the two networks will see Paratus and MTN customers throughout the country benefit from better and increased national coverage.

It will also allow both Paratus and MTN Namibia to expand their networks and avoid duplicating mobile coverage in certain areas of the country.

The infrastructure sharing deal appears to be marking a milestone in Namibian telecommunications history, as the cooperation will provide not only a better mobile LTE service to customers, but also an attractive competitive option in the market.

“When we launched Paratus Mobile LTE service in 2016, it was a game changer in terms of mobile data offering to the Namibian public,” Paratus Namibia MD, Andrew Hall said.

“At the time, we launched the lowest top-up rate of N$15 per Gigabyte. Since then, our network has been growing, expanding our coverage to Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Okahandja, Rehoboth and Otjiwarongo.”

Hall said the partnership with MTN would enable Paratus to realise a faster mobile LTE roll-out as, in the past it has been unsuccessful engaging with the dominant operators to achieve its goals.

Long Term Evolution, or LTE, is a 4G wireless broadband standard that replaces previous technologies like WiMax and 3G. It is faster than 3G but slower than both true 4G and 5G, which is the current wireless standard.

“It is a new dawn for telecommunications in Namibia. We are proud to embark on this journey together with MTN, because national roaming agreements are the next natural step in developing the market and in delivering what customers need,” he pointed out.

According to Hall, the partnership with MTN is the first of many deals in which Paratus will share infrastructure with licensed operators and deliver quality network connections to the broader business and domestic market and beyond.

“We believe that everyone deserves the right of access to a modern and connected digital life. This agreement helps us realise our business objectives of delivering better service to customers in Namibia. We see only positive benefit from this agreement for all,” MTN MD Elia Tsouros said.

MTN Group recently made a takeover approach for Telkom in a deal that would’ve combined South Africa’s second and third largest telecommunications operators, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to Moneyweb, Telkom has so far shown no interest in a sale who asked to remain private as the talks are confidential. It remains unclear whether the larger rival will continue its pursuit, the people said.

Following a multi-year asset-disposal program, MTN is flush with cash and looking to build on its core business. A combination with Telkom would help close the gap with crosstown rival Vodacom, South Africa’s market leader.

Recently, the two parties agreed to a multi-year roaming agreement, where Telkom uses MTN’s network.

There are also certain alignments in their corporate strategy as MTN is busy with a sale-and-leaseback deal of its South African towers, and Telkom is separating its towers business to prepare for a possible listing of the unit.

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