Dialling Namibia

Dialling Namibia

Internet service provider MTN Namibia is focused on providing services that benefit people and the planet. We speak to Elia Tsouros, Managing Director of the company, to learn more 
 
Writer: Marcus Kääpä
 
 
The African telecoms sector is a growing space. 
 
Continually developing urban and rural areas are being interconnected via telecoms and digital services to better communication across the continent.
 
MTN Namibia (MTN) is an internet service provider based in Windhoek, Namibia. The company is committed to connecting Namibians from all walks of life to the global village, enabling learning, communication, and innovation to improve the livelihoods of Namibians and growing the economy. 
 
MTN continues to invest in infrastructure, partnerships, and new technologies to assist in bringing the country to the cutting edge of modernisation. 
 
MTN was launched in 1998 as the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Namibia, operating as UUNET (Pty) Ltd until 2006. With the acquisition of UUNET (Pty) Ltd by Verizon in 2006, the company operated under the Verizon Business banner as a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon Business South Africa (Pty) Ltd. 
 
In 2009, MTN Group Limited, through its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, MTN Holdings (Pty) Ltd, acquired Verizon Business South Africa and renamed it MTN Business Solutions (Pty) Limited. As a result, the company changed its name again to Mobile Telephone Networks Business Solutions (Proprietary) Limited t/a MTN Business Namibia.
 
Today, one of the most significant ways business is shaping the world is through energy use and its contribution to climate change.
 
Both scientists and policymakers largely agree that Africa’s population is more vulnerable and most impacted by the effects of climate change in comparison to many other regions globally. Because of this fact, MTN believes that the growth and success of any business should not come at the expense of the planet and its future. 
 
Acknowledging the environmental concerns that we all face today, MTN focuses on reducing its environmental impact by placing its attention on the realms of energy and climate. At present, MTN’s largest impact is driven by its energy use, and the company is actively pursuing multiple energy-reduction and efficiency initiatives and investing in renewable energy resources. 
 
We find out more with Managing Director, Elia Tsouros. 
 
Africa Outlook (AO): Firstly, could you give us some insight into your career with MTN and how you began with the company?
 
Elia Tsouros (ET), Managing Director: I was initially employed in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector with Unilever and then took on the opportunity to join Datatec/Unipalm Pipex to launch the first internet business in South Africa. Thereafter my career in telecommunications commenced and has been on an upward trajectory since. 
I have worked in all aspects on the telecoms business sector and my last appointment before MTN acquired the business was as head of sales for Verizon South Africa. At MTN, I was initially head of sales for MTN Enterprise business South Africa, but following this, I joined MTN Group in various roles including Executive Head of Enterprise for the MTN Group.
 
AO: What is your current take on the technology sector across Namibia? Is it a particularly exciting or challenging space to be working in?
 
ET: The sector is exciting and challenging at the same time, as companies and institutions are inventing new ways to navigate through the pandemic and economic downturn, which in turn has resulted in innovations and out-the-box thinking for MTN. 
Customers are now also more willing to open up and create an ecosystem with providers like MTN, and various providers are now also collaborating and partnering together to create opportunities. 
 
AO: Could you expand on MTN Namibia’s efforts in developing and deploying its own fibre network? Has this been successful so far?
 
ET: We are a premier communications provider with a class comprehensive regulatory license allowing us to offer all forms of communications technologies and solutions.
At present, we have deployed some of our own fibre segments where required, but overall, there is enough fibre infrastructure available for us to partner on infrastructure, otherwise the business case does not stack. MTN is a big advocate for infrastructure sharing.
AO: Finally, could you tell us more about the role that MTN plays for Namibian infrastructure, and what the company has planned for the future?
 
ET: MTN has sponsored infrastructure for communications purposes at many educational institutions, charities and institutions in need. We also have a fully-fledged intern/graduate programme where we help educate young graduates and give them exposure to the professional environment.
 
Moving forward, we are six to 12 months from  the deployment of our first full services mobile data tower deployment, making us the 2nd mobile network operator in the country!