By Mbatjiua Ngavirue WINDHOEK MTC on Wednesday became the first company to launch the exciting new 3G mobile broadband technology in Namibia, bringing with it a host of fast, new multimedia services for Namibian cell phone and computer users. The event was marked by Namibia’s first ever mobile-phone video conference called between Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, in Windhoek and Erongo Regional Governor, Samuel Nuyoma, in Swakopmund. The company says this is the latest in several important milestones it has achieved in the Namibian telecommunications industry. These include the first ever mobile phone call in 1985, the first pre-paid phone service in 1999 and now the launch of the first 3G service. MTC Managing Director, JosÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© Ferreira, highlighted the fact that Namibia is now one of only three countries on the African continent with an advanced 3G mobile network. The only two other countries on the continent with fully-fledged 3G networks are believed to be South Africa and Mauritius. Ferreira promised numerous benefits from 3G-technology such as instant communication via phone calls, fax and e-mails even with large attachments wherever people are. One of the most important features is that 3G will allow high-speed web browsing, fast downloads of data files, images or music files while also making ad-hoc video-conferencing and picture-messaging possible. According to Ferreira, users will have information available at their fingertips via navigational features and access to maps. They will also be able to receive television broadcasts of their favourite sporting or news events streamed directly on to their mobile phone handsets. “The benefits are endless, and only your personal experience will tell us whether we are meeting your needs for speed and bandwidth in this fast-paced world of the electronic superhighway,” Ferreira said. MTC describes its 3G HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) network as “really, really fast Internet” that is available anywhere because it uses the cellular network. By way of illustration, the company says that while the speed of a standard dial-up Internet phone link is 56 kilobytes per second, the 3G mobile network will give download speeds of 1 megabyte per second. For those who want to use either a laptop or desktop computer, the service can be accessed through either special USB or PC card devices. Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Nahas Angula recognized the role MTC has played in the Namibian telecommunications sector over the past 11 years. He cautioned, however, that more is expected from all the players in the ICT sector to help Namibia move forward to attain the true status of a knowledge-based society. Angula commended MTC for investing over N$40 million in upgrading the country’s cellular network from 2.5G to 3G, describing the move as “most welcome”.
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