The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has launched the auction process to allocate frequencies in the 700MHz (684MHz-790MHz) and 800MHz (790MHz-862MHz) bands for the provision of 4G and 5G services.

Under the terms of the ‘Request to Bid’ published on 17 February, applicants must hold a Class Comprehensive telecommunications service licence (ECS & ECNS) or Individual telecommunications service licence (ECS & ECNS), and will be required to submit a detailed business case, including their rollout plans for the next three years aimed at expanding broadband connectivity in those regions with 4G population coverage below the national target of 80%. The spectrum is reserved for use by 4G and/or 5G mobile services providing mobile broadband speeds of not less than 20Mbps and may not be utilised for 2G and 3G.

The Authority will assign the frequency user rights on a competitive basis by means of a spectrum auction under a beauty contest model, with three lots available as follows: (Lot A) 703MHz-723MHz paired with 758MHz-778MHz; (Lot B) 723MHz-733MHz paired with 778MHz-788MHz and 791MHz-801MHz paired with 832MHz-842MHz; and (Lot C) 801MHz-821MHz paired with 842MHz-862MHz. To ensure fair and equitable access to spectrum, no participant will be allowed to bid for multiple lots. The spectrum licences will be valid for a period of ten years from the date of publication of the award in the Government Gazette and be renewable for a further period of ten years.

According to the auction process timeline published by the regulator, potential bidders have until 17 April to submit their applications. The eligible participants will be confirmed on 21 April and the auction held between 24 and 28 April, with the results set to be announced on 30 June and spectrum licences granted on 21 August.

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