Investors eye MVNO opportunity in Zimbabwe as POTRAZ finalises converged licensing framework

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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.

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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



2 Comments

  1. Robert Ndlovu says:

    What we need is improved network coverage , low cost access and improved QOS.
    Increasing number of players without improving network availability will not help. Once upon a time we had 13 IAPs. We need quality and NOT quantity.

    Any ways eventually – in 10 or so years time says there will be very little to regulate .
    Ask the postman and the postage stamp.

  2. Norman Dube says:

    As long as there is a high floor price for retail services there will be no benefit to the public. Potraz should not force operators to charge high fees just for the sake of getting taxes – the end user has been milked so much by the operators that there is only powdered milk coming out. The operators don’t care – they are happy to charge high rates for using infrastructure that is more than 20 years old. Nowadays one has to chose between spending on groceries of spending on communication. Make it affordable and people will use it more. MVNO’s will not succeed in a heavily regulated environment. That’s why there are so few in Africa

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