By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (MTC) yesterday launched another innovation that would place Namibia in the top five African countries offering a range of high-quality mobile commercial services. Mobile Transact, a development that falls within the broader ambit of mobile commercial innovations, has three benefits to the user. According to the Managing Director of MTC, Bengt Strenge, through this first phase of innovations one of the newly launched services named Mobile Charge would enable the user to sign up for a service that would allow him/her to make a pre-payment of his/her contract account or someone else’s account or a prepaid (Tango) customer to top up his/her account or someone else’s. MTC currently distributes scratch and other vouchers to the tune of 42 million units per year. The company has also introduced an airtime distribution (mobile transfer) service. This service mainly targets entrepreneurs or the consumer who has no banking account but still has a requirement to purchase prepaid airtime. Dealers would be in a position to transfer airtime to their customers’ mobile phones by making a free call from a registered cell phone. Since dealers purchase the airtime at a special price, the customer will pay the full retail price and the profit made by the dealers is theirs to keep. Another service, named Post Paid MTC Bill Payment, would enable post-paid MTC customers to pay any outstanding MTC invoice using the handset. “We are optimistic that the uptake of these services will be significant as our customers learn and appreciate how these solutions will change their working lives,” Strenge stated. Prime Minister Nahas Angula commended MTC for introducing such services, adding that the ICT sector is not only economically significant to Namibia but also helps in narrowing the digital divide in the country. Based on the World Bank report on Information and Communication for Development 2006, the Namibian mobile subscriber figures have risen from 43 per 1 000 people in 2000 to 111 per 1 000 people in 2004. This, according to the Prime Minister, is an achievement for a country like Namibia especially when one compares the figure to only 86 per 1 000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, telecommunications revenue as a percentage of the Namibian gross domestic product (GDP) has also risen from 3.6 per cent in 2000 to 4.6 percent in 2004. Though Namibia has made significant improvements in the ICT sector, Angula expressed sadness that many of the rural poor still dwell in poverty and are excluded from the much talked about knowledge society. “There are many areas of the ICT sector that require a great deal of attention and through smart partnership of public and private sector players, we can make significant headway,” Angula noted. MTC has a population coverage of 88 percent covering 46 per cent of the landmass. Call success rate stands at 95 per cent of all ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â±80 million calls per month.
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