POTRAZ slashes VSAT landing rights fees

Victor Mukandatsama Avatar

Zimbabwean telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, has reduced the cost of Virtual Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) annual landing rights fees from $1,500 to $30 for C and Ku Band and $20 for Ka Band respectively. This was published in the latest Government Gazette SI Instrument 87 of 2015.

In addition, the annual cost of fees for portable satellite phones has been pegged at $200 for both MSS and BGAN Terminals.

Earlier, in 2014 POTRAZ had again reduced the fees from a ridiculous $36,000 to the current $1,500 before this new interjection. POTRAZ had showed in spirit that it was agreeable to further lowering the costs and considering review after they relaxed policing of the fees payments.

The main reason behind this reduction could have a lot to do with minimising the cost of internet to the end user in provision of internet to remote areas by ISPs and in respect of the government’s own projects to bring connectivity to the rural communities.

The government’s Community Information Centres are a beneficiary of such initiatives where the most sensible and justifiable connectivity options are VSAT. In fact as part of its USF initiatives, POTRAZ has recently called for tenders for VSAT installation in 60 rural schools. Rural schools, growth points, tourism areas, mining areas, farms and hospitals are the second beneficiaries.

So why is POTRAZ doing this now? In addition to the long existing need for connectivity to spread beyond the urban areas, there has been a serious distrust of how POTRAZ was using the USF. This is actually a quick win for it and probably a way to try and activate the computerisation and connectivity campaign in tandem with the ICT Minister’s energetic approach.

This could also be a genuine coincidence of regulations that were long in the making coming to a conclusion in order to accommodate new and old players.Whatever the case, this is a welcome initiative and can go a lot to improve internet connectivity in rural areas.


  1. Michael Anthony

    Thanks you so much for this article, I’ve been looking to install a VSat solution for my home for a while now because I can’t get fiber where I live and my wireless network is below average and I have a VSat equipment at home just sitting idle but the service cost with the ISPs in Zimbabwe are just so high. I’m not sure where to turn. Any suggestions

    1. iWayAfrica

      Hi Michael – iWayAfrica has amazing VSAT packages on offer starting from $80 for 15GB at a speed of 1Mbps. Included in any of these packages is free equipment, free usage between 11pm and 6am and free 24/7 support. Let us know if you are interested on sales@iwayafrica.co.zw and we will give you a call.

      1. Michael Anthony

        i just spoke with your sales team and i am really impressed guess i’d sign up for the $80 package for a start.
        Thanks again

  2. Taurai B

    Please expand on some of the acronyms/terms used C, Ka, MSS, BGAN, USF

    1. Evans

      This is a Tech site, if you dont understand that then the story is meaningless to you!

      1. Taurai B

        We aren’t all in the same tech Mr. Evans. I’m a software developer mate. It helps the non-telecoms people understand the article in greater depth. Even after some light googling all I have understood is that fees were slashed for Mobile Satellite System and Broadband Global Area Network terminals (and I’m still trying to differenciate the 2), I have no insight into how this affects me/us. I still have no idea what the USF is supposed to or could mean. @Evans, igore rezvidzidzo, if you know yourself just assist, I’m here for knowledge, I didn’t just stumble upon this article

        1. LTE

          Taurai B you are right. Tech guys lacks the understanding that all technology is developed for end users who are not necessarily geeks. We gotta understand this because we can only support something economically if we understand. You never know some of us are politicians, investors, entreprenuers etc here.

    2. AEC

      Hi Taurai B
      1. C Band, KU Band & KA Band are all different types of VSAT (aka internet via satellite) , each using different radio frequencies to broadcast and receive.
      2. USF – Universal Services Fund. All Licensed IAP’s (Internet Access Providers) and Mobile operators in Zim contribute to this fund. The fund should be used to to create connectivity in rural and underprivileged communities.
      3. This change to the regulations, means that VSAT license fees are coming down dramatically, resulting in +- $1,470 saving per year to the customer, thus becoming more affordable.

      1. Taurai B

        Thank you very much!!

  3. NASA

    That’s good news. Anyone knows that British company which popped up on our Facebook pages offering very cheap VSat packages?

  4. ignatious

    very informative_ l hope you will do a comparison to see which provider has the best solution – am in the market for vsat equipment and currently weighing all the options

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