Towards the end of last year, POTRAZ, the local telecommunications regulator invited various stakeholders to contribute to a consultative process which was meant to review the current telecoms licensing Framework.
The exercise was wrapped up just before December 2015 and as a follow-up to that consultative process, POTRAZ held a conference earlier this week with the telecoms operators and other stakeholders to discuss the recommendations that were submitted and to also bring everyone up to speed on the process that is set to unfold with the licensing new regulations.
At the ongoing e-Tech Africa Expo we had a brief chat with Baxton Sirewu, the acting Director General of POTRAZ. He shared some of the conclusions from the consultative process and outlined the developments that will follow the new framework.
Currently, Zimbabwe uses a technology specific licensing framework that has resulted in mobile operators paying $137,5 million for a licence that covers the full range of services that they are able to provide.
One of the major changes to the framework will be the opportunity to offer licences to operators keen on exploring specific service lines like infrastructure management and applications and content deployment. These types of licences will accommodate changes in telecoms and technology and an immediate example has been the introduction of Mobile Virtual Network Operator licences.
So far only one MVNO, Viva Mobile has expressed its readiness to launch but according to Sirewu, there are other potential investors that have expressed an interest in operating as MVNOs and have been negotiating with different telecoms operators on terms of infrastructure use.
Assuming that a handful of new operators are given the green light to set up services after the new licensing framework is announced in the next 12 months, this will have a significant impact on the level of competition in the mobile telecoms environment.
You can listen to the full interview below