Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC), the country’s first cellular service provider, is offering rural communities a brand new smartphone for N$399, as it embarks on a national roadshow to towns and villages across the 14 regions that will provide at least 20 000 subscribers with an internet connection.
The ‘OsmartPhona Roadshow’ aims to bring affordable 3G smartphones to rural areas across the country from the end of June until August 20.
The project is driven to complement MTC’s recent US$60 million (about N$870 million) upgrade from 2G to 3G telecommunications network and coverage in remote areas and will have a total of 37 shows countrywide.
According to MTC, bridging the rural-urban digital divide is critically important to the wellbeing of rural communities and imperative to growing Namibia’s prosperity under the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
This an objective MTC set itself, with its latest market offering of providing a cross-subsidised smartphone to enable rural communities access to modern network convenience and internet connectivity.
The exclusively designed touchscreen MTC smartphone will be provided at an affordable price to enhance customers experience through a device that supports 3G services.
Equipped with Bluetooth, GPS functionalities, Wi-Fi provisioning, WhatsApp, Facebook and a range of modern features, the device can pack its weight among the best.
According to GSM, a global leading figure on mobile connectivity, for a given level of total mobile penetration, 10 percent substitution from 2G to 3G penetration increases GDP per capita growth by 0.15 percentage points.
The internet is the most important enabler of social development and economic growth of our time. Already 3.2 billion people are online, 2.4 billion of them through mobile, directly benefiting from and contributing to the digital economy.
Yet 4 billion people remain offline, unable to participate and unaware of the opportunities. Mobile represents the best opportunity for the underserved to join the digital economy. It is with this in mind that MTC embarks on this project.
“The provision of this 3G technology is to allow business and ordinary people to benefit from a high value wireless data and content services and bring the practical, social and economic change and contribute to cultural enhancement for the rural populace. This is so based on that, with this smartphone, people in remote areas with no bank accounts will now be able to make money transactions, acceleration of e–commerce and e-service platforms etc. This is an effort to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas countrywide,” according to Tim Ekandjo, MTC’s chief human capital and corporate affairs officer.
This OsmartPhona project is also in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan and the provision of universal services to ensure nobody is left out. It also complements the mission and vision of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology of enhancing the telecommunications infrastructures in the country.
This can only be realised through the improvement of the telecommunications network and coverage in all the corners of the country, which will contribute to a fully-fledged universal services provision.