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Telecommunications in Namibia

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Telecommunications in Namibia include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.

Radio and television[edit]

Per 1,000 inhabitants, there were 50 TV sets and 137 radio sets in Namibia in 2008.[1]

  • Radio stations:[2]
    • State-run radio service broadcasts in multiple languages; about a dozen private radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007);
    • AM 2, FM 39, shortwave 4 (2001);
    • AM 2, FM 34, shortwave 5 (1998).

Since Independence in 1990, Namibia has seen a dramatic growth in radio stations, with both commercial (for instance Radio 99, Radio Wave, Radio Energy, Omulunga Radio, West Coast FM, etc.) and community (UNAM Radio, Katutura Community Radio, etc.) receiving licences. Most of these stations broadcast various types of music format, and political discussions, news and phone-in programs remain mostly the domain of the national broadcaster (NBC) which broadcasts nine radio services nationally (in various Namibian languages, including German - the only full-time German service outside of Europe), plus the new !Ha service, broadcasting to the San community in Tsumkwe.[3]

  • Television stations: 1 private and 1 state-run TV station; satellite and cable TV service is available; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007).[2]

The television network with the widest transmission range is the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC, not to be confused with the American NBC network). The NBC is the successor to the South Africa–run South West African Broadcasting Corporation (SWABC), which was modeled on the original SABC. Like the radio services of the NBC, the television service tries to cater to all the linguistic audiences in Namibia, although the dominant language is English (Namibia's official language).[4]

The commercial "free to air" station is One Africa Television, the successor to the now defunct TV Africa. It has expanded its transmitter network and is now available in most major towns and cities in Namibia. In 2007 it commenced broadcasting a local television news bulletin each evening.[4]

The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is a religion television station, with some material originating locally, although also carrying relays from the United States. It is based in Windhoek and holds a community television licence granted in 2001.[5]


  • Calling code: +264[2]
  • International call prefix: 00[6]
  • Main lines in use:[2]
    • 144,575 lines, 126th in the world (2019);
    • 171,000 lines (2012);
    • 140,000 lines (2008);
    • 127,900 lines (2004);
    • 110,200 lines (2000);
    • 100,848 lines (1997).
  • Mobile cellular:[2]
    • 2.92 million lines, 142nd in the world (2019);
    • 2.4 million lines (2012);
    • 1.1 million lines (2008);
    • 450,000 lines (2006);
    • 495,000 lines (2005);
    •   82,000 lines (2000 estimate);
    •   20,000 lines (1998).
  • Telephone system: good system; core fiber-optic network links most centers and connections are now digital; multiple mobile-cellular providers with a combined subscribership of more than 100 telephones per 100 persons; fiber-optic cable to South Africa, microwave radio relay link to Botswana, direct links to other neighboring countries (2010).[2]
  • Communications cables: connected to the African Coast to Europe (ACE)[7] and the West Africa Cable System (WACS)[8] submarine cables, as well as the South African Far East (SAFE) submarine cable through South Africa (2010).[2]
  • Satellite earth stations: 4 Intelsat (2010).[2]


Telecom Namibia, which has offered ADSL access since late 2006,[15] has a de facto monopoly on ADSL access. Their monopoly was unsuccessfully challenged in the courts by MWeb Namibia in May 2007[16] and again in August 2011.[17]

In February 2007, ISP Namibia Mweb began offering broadband wireless services through WiMax, making Namibia the second African country (after Mozambique) to do so.[18]

Internet censorship and surveillance[edit]

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet; however, the Communications Act provides that the intelligence services can monitor e-mail and Internet usage with authorization from any magistrate. There have been some allegations and rumors that the government reviewed ways to block or curtail social media sites, but there is no concrete evidence of such action.[19]

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respects these rights.[19]

See also[edit]


  • Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from The World Factbook (2024 ed.). CIA. (Archived 2014 edition.)
  • Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State.
  1. ^ Tyson, Robin (January 2008). "The South African media's (re) colonisation of Namibia" (PDF). Global Media Journal-African Edition. 2 (1): 66–79.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Communications: Namibia" Archived 2021-01-10 at the Wayback Machine, World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 7 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  3. ^ Dieckmann, U. Thiem, M. Dirkx, Hays, J. (2014). Scraping the Pot: San in Namibia Two Decades After Independence. Windhoek, NAMIBIA: Legal Assistance Centre and Desert Research Foundation of Namibia. p. 519. ISBN 978-99945-61-52-0.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b Namibia Telecom Laws and Regulations Handbook. USA: International Business Publication Publication. 2018. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-4330-8225-2.
  5. ^ "TBN Namibia". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  6. ^ Dialing Procedures (International Prefix, National (Trunk) Prefix and National (Significant) Number) (in Accordance with ITY-T Recommendation E.164 (11/2010)) Archived 2013-08-18 at the Wayback Machine, Annex to ITU Operational Bulletin No. 994-15.XII.2011, International Telecommunication Union (ITU, Geneva), 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  7. ^ "ACE: Africa Coast to Europe" Archived 2014-01-30 at the Wayback Machine, Orange SA. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  8. ^ "West Africa Cable System (WACS)" Archived 2014-01-20 at the Wayback Machine, Tata Communications Ltd. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012" Archived 2017-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
  10. ^ "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012" Archived 2014-02-09 at the Wayback Machine, International Telecommunication Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
  11. ^ "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012" Archived 2019-07-26 at the Wayback Machine, Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012" Archived 2019-07-26 at the Wayback Machine, Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  13. ^ Select Formats Archived 2009-05-13 at the Wayback Machine, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
  14. ^ Population Archived 2018-10-04 at the Wayback Machine, The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Data are mostly for 1 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Namibia: Telecom Namibia to Provide Broadband Internet Services"(subscription required) Archived 2012-10-02 at the Wayback Machine, All Africa, 15 September 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  16. ^ http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/internet/2007/0705311034.asp?A=AFN&S=All%20Africa%20News&O=E&C [dead link]
  17. ^ "the Namibian: MWeb loses internet case against Telecom". 2012-06-06. Archived from the original on 2012-06-06. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  18. ^ http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/internet/2007/0702121031.asp?S=Mobile%20and%20Wireless%20Technology&A=MAW&O=FPQQ#1 [dead link]
  19. ^ a b "Namibia" Archived 2021-03-31 at the Wayback Machine, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 22 March 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2014.

External links[edit]