About a week ago, after Zimbabwe’s ICT Minister Nelson Chamisa declared it was time to read the riot act on the country’s mobile operators for poor service delivery, we decided to crowd source some advice for the minister through our Facebook page. We asked the following of the 4,300 people that follow our page:
If you could speak to the ICT Minister Nelson Chamisa directly right now, how would you advise him to rectify the issue of poor mobile phone network services in Zimbabwe?
We got 19 responses. Most very interesting and some quite insightful. The common thread that appears to run most responses is the need to fix the telecoms regulatory environment. We post here some of the comments. If you have your own advice, please feel free to add in the comments.
open up licensing for more MNOs grace period yapera. the only way companies will improve on service is if they have serious competition
sack himself first, get people with relevant industrial experience to run the ministry and tovapa zvibhakera zvaMike Tyson for companies like Econet [translation: and we give them fists like Myike Tyson’s]
introduce periodic licenses say 5 years, and set higher standards for re-licensing. Have auditors for network performance who give bi annual or quarterly reports, these networks are making moola, they are just not throwing it back to the users. they must also introduce compulsory sponsorships for things like sport. notice how MTN and them do it in SA
More players more competition. Make Zimbabwe a major Tech hub. That way it will address also the issue of unemployment especially youths. Zimbabwe has so much potential to lead. HOPE is ALIVE
Econet fo sure is captalising. Dollar ten megabytes ? Zvakaoma. [translation: it’s hard] I dnt knw if rumuors i heard they installing vsat kuma [translation: at] gvt xuls. I asked myself why not use telone fo the internet and empower the local company. Eventualy it wil grow and gve better mobile services. Thts the only company i blv has the pple at heart. And of course eitha force the existin companies to moderate pricing or allow other companies to bring competition. Like vodacom wanted to do. Eventualy its good fo the pple. Many pple ar nw adopting the tablets coz zim pple ar so keen to hv internet but the internet cost is unfriendly
what policies should be put in place for plastic money, we cant continue this cash thing its soo inefficient and outdated, look at the ZESA queues…
The only hope for Zimbabwe rising from the ashes is becoming a tech-based economy. Its late now to be a manufacturing powerhouse because we are on south africas door step. Better they put in policies in place to elevate the role of technology in the economy and make the country more start up friendly so that we can have a local silicon valley. Otherwise they should open up the local industry to competition. Imagine what would happen if MTN or Vodacom was here? All the other networks, in particular ECONET would be forced to reduce costs and better service.
It happened in Namibia. For a time there was only one service provider and they had the freedom to do whatever they want and charge whatever they want. Then a new operator set up shop and the competition between them now is fierce. Consumers there can even get 100 free smses daily for the equivalent of R0.40 in airtime
Introduce number portability. A lots of people are stuck with a bad service provider because they can’t change the number that their clients area used to.
the boottom line is to bring the right & appropriate expertise to the sector, whilst at the same time enforce the sharing of infrastructure. Remove the ministerial portfolio confusion between him & Goche so that we clearly leave the sector to be dealt with one responsible ministry
a) Encourage gov to use locally developed s/w where possible.
b) Encourage network operators to have a clear policy of accepting locally developed apps to run on their networks. Have a committee that will adjudicate if mobile operator is making hosting difficult for app developer.
c) Have potraz account for Universal Access Fund.
d) Launch national ICT hub along the line of i-Hub (kenya) and BIH (Botswana).
e) Demand resource extractors (as in diamond) build high speed data channels that connect local schools, hospitals , etc.
Bring more competition between the various service providers by allowing people to move from one network to the other with the same number e.g. you should be able to move from say econet to telecel and keep on using the 0772 suffix. They do it in South Africa. That way subscribers will not be unnecessarily “locked in” by a network against their wish.
He cant do anything..hes a software minister, Goche has all the hardware. Fix the ugly politics first & all other solutions are there for everyone to see.