Namibian Mobile Telecommunications Company has attributed its poor quality of cellphone reception to the rapid growth in the number of subscribers. MTC Managing Director, Bengt Strenge, said last week that during the last financial year, October 2002 to September 2003, the number of new customers increased by 56 per cent or 80,326. In October and November last year 29,000 new subscribers were added to the list.

Strenge said recent problems experienced with cellular connectivity, such as poor reception, could be attributed to the sudden sharp increase in clients. He said MTC had taken several strategic decisions to increase the capacity and coverage of the radio network, the pre-paid platform and other support systems.

"For the two financial years 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, MTC’s total investment in the network will amount to between N$250 million and N$300 million. The implementation for many strategic investments is between four and six months," Strenge said. MTC has implemented a new Intelligent Network platform to handle the pre-paid customers and is erecting 82 more base stations around the country.

To cope with Windhoek’s high demand, 180mhz transmission equipment is being installed to supplement the existing and new 90mhz base stations, he said. The higher frequency could handle more traffic and would benefit all dual-band cellphones which accounted for about 85 per cent of those circulating in the country, Strenge added. MTC’s main switch in Windhoek, which is the heart of the network, is being upgraded from an SR8 to an SR10.

The Namibian