Ha-Ntina villagers get mobile network services

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Nthabiseng Libate

THE government has in partnership with the Universal Service Fund (USF) commissioned a telecommunications tower at Ha-Ntina in Berea district.

The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a United States government programme that supports telecommunications access and affordability in rural and low-income communities.

Speaking at the commissioning recently, USF executive secretary, Soko Thabisi, said that about M3, 5 Million was used for the construction of the tower.

Mr Thabisi said the mandate of USF is to expand internet network and improve communication in the country.

He said the tower would enable villagers to access mobile services like communication, purchasing electricity and sending money.

It would also allow them to report crime and other emergencies.

“You must therefore guard this tower jealously as it is there for your benefit,” Mr Thabisi said.

For his part, Communications, Science and Technology Minister, Tsoinyane Rapapa said that the commissioning of the tower is part of efforts by the two parties to broaden internet network services in rural areas.

Mr Rapapa said the signal tower would enable Vodacom Lesotho (VCL) and Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) subscribers to access mobile network services.

He said pensioners would also be able to receive their money through mobile money services such as Mpesa and Eco Cash.

“The commissioning of the tower is coming in handy for villagers in this area. Access to mobile network services will enable subscribers to save money on transport.”

There would also be improvement in education as students would be able to do their research on the internet.

Mr Rapapa told the villagers that the government would soon bring electricity to the area.

ETL Chief Executive Officer, Dennis Plaatjies, said that they were on a drive to increase cellular network coverage in the remotest parts of the country. This would help in creating employment.

“We have commissioned at least 15 towers this year and we are planning to have more.

“However, this tower was constructed by USF, and as ETL we only installed our signal,” Mr Plaatjies explained.

He said subscribers would now be able to enjoy services such as Eco-sure funeral cover and make utility payments through the internet or mobile money transfer product Eco Cash.

Speaking at the same event, Ha-Ntina councillor, ‘Mangaka Mosito said access to mobile network would enable them to report crime.

“Crime is a major problem here. I’m happy that we’ll now be able to call police for assistance,” Ms Mosito said.

She said that communication has been a major challenge in the area. This forced villagers to climb on top of mountains to search for network.

Ms Mosito urged the villagers to poll their financial resources together and negotiate with government to bring electricity to the area. More than 30 villagers fall under Ha-Ntina.

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