MTC Issues Warning to PowerCom

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK With the second telecommunications company PowerCom entering the Namibian communications arena soon, former Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob has advised the existing service provider MTC to come up with incentives to retain its customers. Geingob, who was speaking at the occasion of MTC Namibia’s celebration of its 500 000th customer milestone last week, acknowledged the great work that MTC has achieved in the past years. Nevertheless, he says the company has to seek ways to further minimize its occurrence. “With the arrival of PowerCom, we hope to see some benefits accruing to the end users as a result of competition,” he said, adding: “I hope the two mobile operators would compete to offer us the best and world class choices in prices, products and technologies,” said the MP. In the past 11 years, MTC has registered half a million customers. According to Geingob, this is living proof that Namibians are hungry for the right products at the right price. He said there is a “new kid on the block”. Incoming Managing Director of MTC Jose Antonio Ferreira at the same event said that there is a lot of scope and potential for further developments in the company and the communications industry as a whole. He assured Namibian consumers that with the entry of this international telecommunications player in the Namibian market, it will bring noticeable improvements in what is currently being done at MTC. He warned: “PowerCom, be afraid! Be very afraid.” Ferreira further noted that MTC would remain vigilant as a company and continue to advise the Namibian government and the regulator to continue on the path of sector reforms they are on. He believes, “The leveling of the playing-field is critical if consumers and the Namibian industry are to always remain winners in the global economy. Namibia needs a winning formula that would prevent it from sliding on the international telecommunications measures being watched by all potential investors.” MTC will continue to play its usual role, from the social investment arena to its core business of mobile telecommunications provision, he assured. Ferreira takes up his responsibilities as new managing director of MTC on 01 September 2006. Bengt Strenge, MTC’s outgoing managing director, shared the same sentiments as Ferreira when he called on the Namibian government to fast-track efforts to liberalize the telecommunications sector and level the playing field for existing and future players in the industry. He said there are certain steps that should be considered for Namibia to truly build a competitive economy that is powered by the best telecommunications technologies and managed by a workforce that understands its role in the information industry. He pointed out the establishment of a world-class legislative environment for the telecommunications sector, and the setting up of an empowered and well-resourced telecommunications authority for Namibia that will drive change and innovation, as some of the ways to become globally competitive. Another area to be considered, he said, would be creating an environment that would allow technology-neutral licenses to all players in the sector to drive price competition and consumer choice and service.