Zimbabwe to review telecoms licencing regime to push infrastructure sharing – officials

Zimbabwe to review telecoms licencing regime to push infrastructure sharing – officials

VICTORIA FALLS, May 18 (The Source) – Zimbabwe will review its licencing framework for the telecommunications industry in a bid to promote infrastructure sharing as well as the entry of new players, officials have said.

Addressing an event to mark the 150th World Telecommunications and Information Society Day in Victoria Falls on Saturday, deputy ICT Minister Win Mlambo said government was pressing on with plans to ensure industry players share infrastructure.

“Further reductions on tariffs are foreseen as a result of the infrastructure sharing framework which government is currently working on,” Mlambo said.

“Shared infrastructure will result in lower costs of network rollout which should allow operators to lower ICT tariffs and the government is also reviewing the telecommunication licensing framework to enable network operators to offer more services on existing infrastructure, which is likely to lower the unit cost of providing ICT services.”

Addressing the same event, Ishmael Chikwenhere, chairman of state telecoms regulator Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said his body had already started the process of reviewing the licensing framework.

“To promote innovation and enhance inclusivity in the accessibility of telecommunication services, POTRAZ is currently revising the licensing framework to ensure streamlined efficient and effective service provision,” Chikwenhere said.

“This is expected to encourage free growth of new applications and services, leveraging on the technological developments in ICT. In turn we are confident that such an initiative will result in opening up of the sector to more participation by grassroots.”

Zimbabwe currently has three licenced mobile network operators – Econet, NetOne and Telecel — and one state-owned fixed telephony service as well as a host of internet service providers which also offer voice platforms.

POTRAZ is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with Telecel after it cancelled the firm’s licence last month, citing failure to pay $137,5 million for its 20 year operating permit.