Local telecoms look like a battlefield these days, with the government on one end and operators on the other. That’s the impression created by the back and forth around infrastructure sharing, moves on new taxation and even licencing issues.
The Ministry of ICT is trying to change all that. This morning, the ministry, through arrangements facilitated by the telecoms regulator POTRAZ, is holding a closed-door breakfast meeting with the heads of the various telecoms operators.
The meeting is supposed to provide operators with a platform to offer suggestions on how best to handle issues affecting the sector and how the government and regulator can create a the right environment for business.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of ICT, Supa Mandiwanzira emphasized the government’s desire to see operators flourishing, and pointed out that even though he has presented operators with a 90 day ultimatum, the Ministry is not forcing them, especially Econet, the country’s largest operator, to share infrastructure.
Another outcome from the meeting is supposed to be further clarification on government’s interest in Telecel. There has been a lot of talk around this deal, with the latest information revealed by the Minister in Parliament yesterday, confirming that the government will be taking up a stake in the operator through one of its subsidiaries, the internet provider ZARnet. The transaction is being facilitated by local financial institution, CBZ