Government reaches understanding with telecoms operators, suggests solutions for challenges in sector

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

There’s a lot that needs to be done to improve the operating conditions in the Zimbabwean telecoms industry, but progress is being made and everyone is on the same page.

This was the general sentiment from the closed-door breakfast meeting held this morning by the Ministry of ICT and POTRAZ. According to the Minister of ICT, Supa Mandiwanzira, the various telecoms operators, including Econet Wireless, now have an understanding of what the government is trying to achieve through infrastructure sharing and they  appreciate how this is something that they need in an ever-changing telecoms environment.

The Minister also highlighted some of the concerns that the operators raised in the meeting such as revenues that have been affected by the proliferation of OTT services like WhatsApp and Facebook that are affecting traditional revenue streams like voice communication.

According to the Minister, the telecoms operators feel that these services are deriving benefit from infrastructure investments that the operators have made, while avoiding any obligations to the government as they do not pay taxes or meet responsibilities that the regulator outlines.

The operators also raised concerns about taxes and licence requirements as well as regulations on tariff adjustment. As a response to the tax issue, which has been cited by operators like Econet as one of the contributors to depressed revenues, the Minister stated that tax issues are determined by the Ministry of Finance.

However, the operators have been advised to come up with a common position and request for any crippling taxes to be waivered, on condition that the operators can prove that the taxes are affecting viability and the sector’s ability to remit more taxes.

The various operators have also been advised by the Ministry to have common grouping that communicates their concerns to the regulator and the government.

The meeting appears to have been successful from a dialogue perspective, with some of the operators calling it largely progressive. The true test will, however, lie in the efforts that are put into creating and implementing solutions.


  1. Anonymous

    was this an all stakeholder meeting or Econet’s meeting. how come its the only company expressing its views in this article

    1. gary

      Coz they are the only Mobile Operator with any Business Scense!!! The reason behind their success and the failure of the other 2!! So why not leech onto Econet now. We know the other 2 Operators don’t pay their bills so now it is being forced.

  2. rikh

    infrastructure sharing is the way to go!

    1. Anonymous


  3. GUEST

    Infrastructure share-Infrastructure share kuita sei kwacho???!! Potraz must tell us what they have done with the >$60million Econet has contributed to date to the USF levy that was set up for this very infrastructure share matter – Oh yeah it was used for Potraz Benzes, Executive Loans, “operating costs” and 10 towers! Thats about $6 million per tower folks! MaZimba ngatiitei serious veduwe. Greatness was never achieved with mediocrity. Why cant we have a long term view for the greater good of our beloved nation. The current street vendor issue and agriculture is again a symptom of the short-term-ism of our mentality as Zimbos – why spend resources making products or growing our own food its too long term, lets just import everything we need cheaply, sell at high margins and make a quick buck that eventually kills our industries, employment, and economy! We must be our own saviours maZimba, hakuna muChina achauya kuzotibatsira, the Chinese are simply helping themselves and we are the willing enablers of that process

  4. Kungurirai

    Was an impact study of this policy done??? Tichapinzwa munataisireva naivo nemuverengi wenhau Supa. All of a sudden he got the brains, despite his little time spend at doing his Poly Certificate/diploma

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