Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Namibians do not get value for money when using data

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an independent international organisation committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The WEF released its “Global Information Technology Report 2013” in April and here are some highlights, as well as specific information regarding the cost of technology in Namibia.

Finland has toppled Sweden from the top spot in a ranking of economies that are best placed to benefit from new information and communication technologies (ICTs). Singapore came in second and Sweden third in the 2013 Networked Readiness Index.

The Networked Readiness Index, calculated by the WEF, and INSEAD (an acronym for the French "Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires" or European Institute of Business Administration), ranks 144 economies based on their capacity to exploit the opportunities offered by the digital age. This capacity is determined by the quality of the regulatory, business and innovation environments, the degree of preparedness, the actual usage of ICTs, as well as the societal and economic impacts of ICTs. The assessment is based on a broad range of indicators from Internet access and adult literacy to mobile phone subscriptions and the availability of venture capital. In addition, indicators such as patent applications and e-government services gauge the social and economic impact of digitization.

Namibia is ranked 111 out of 144 countries in the survey.
Further interesting facts highlighted in the WEF report include the following rankings (out of 144 countries)
Namibia Country Ranking
Ranking out of 144
Score
Networked Readiness Index 2012 (out of 142)
105
3.3
A. Environment subindex
58
4
1st pillar: Political and regulatory environment
37
4.4
2nd pillar: Business and innovation environment
112
3.7
B. Readiness subindex
115
3.3
3rd pillar: Infrastructure and digital content
102
3
4th pillar: Affordability
117
3.1
5th pillar: Skills
111
3.7
C. Usage subindex
101
3.1
6th pillar: Individual usage
99
2.5
7th pillar: Business usage
76
3.4
8th pillar: Government usage
116
3.4
D. Impact subindex
122
2.7
9th pillar: Economic impacts
117
2.7
10th pillar: Social impacts
121
2.8

There is a ranking in the report where Namibia is Number 1 - that is in “Mobile Network Coverage”. Thus we can be proud in having the highest coverage of our population (as small as it is) with mobile cellular services.

A new report from Research ICT Africa (RIA) provides another view of Namibia’s e-readiness.
In a table from the RIA report, a comparison is made between costs of ADSL (fixed line) and mobile costs to use the Internet and other data services. Namibia ranks very favourably in the cost of fixed line data access at USD 40.32 per month but it is shocking to see that our data access via mobile is over USD 100 or N$ 990 per month.

This cost comparison is very relevant as most Namibian consumer are using their cellular telephones to use the internet rather than fixed “home” lines. Thus the poorer sections of the population will pay up to 2.5 times higher for data access via the most available medium, namely cellular.

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) needs to be proactive on engaging the service providers (all of whom belong to the state-owned Namibia Post and Telecommunications Holdings company).  CRAN is after all responsible to (among others):
  • ·         Implement a transparent and fair pricing regime
  • ·         Respond to consumer complaints
  • ·         Protect consumers in respect of prices, quality, variety of services and user equipment supplied
  • ·         Promote competition amongst service providers




No comments: