A report on the Malaysian national news agency site Bernama.com, says that POTRAZ, Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator instituting regulation to make telecoms infrastructure sharing compulsory for telecoms operators in Zimbabwe. According to the information, which was sourced from Zimbabwe’s New Ziana; the new regulations are timed to coincide with the renewal of licenses by Zimbabwe’s major mobile operators, Econet, Telecel and NetOne next year. The new regulations will be announced soon.
“The work has been done,” POTRAZ director general engineer Charles Sibanda is quoted in the report, “what is now left is the announcement by the policy maker and hopefully the announcement will be made soon,”
In recent years, mobile operators have complained that fellow operators are unwilling to share passive infrastructure resulting in them investing needlessly in setting up towers for base stations. This has cause unnecessary delays in the expansion of telecoms services as well as, more importantly, the high cost of setting up operations being passed on to the consumers through high tariffs.
In the past two years, separate submissions by Telecel and Econet to parliamentary committees have been that state owned mobile operator NetOne, refused to share its infrastructure with the other two in the years when it used to have the largest telecoms coverage in the country. Submissions by Econet CEO also suggest that NetOne is now complaining that Econet is refusing to share. Econet, the largest mobile operator by number of subscribers, now also commands the most expansive telecoms infrastructure in the country.
Dandemutande, one of Zimbabwe’s 12 POTRAZ licensed Internet Access Providers (IAPs) has also indicated in the past that the lack of infrastructure sharing arrangements, new entrants are forced to invest heavily upfront in passive telecoms equipment, taxes, licenses and levies.
According to the Bernama report, POTRAZ is also introducing the new laws to address issues of emerging technologies which are radically disrupting the existing licensing regime.