Newly appointed ICT and Cyber Security Minister, Kazembe Kazembe is setting his sights on seeing urban areas well-mapped out with free Wi-Fi zones. With many Zimbabweans owning gadgets, constant connectivity is fast becoming a necessity.
Minister Kazembe Kazembe seem to understand this no wonder he is urging Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to increase free Wi-Fi zones. Speaking about the need to increase to increase broadband access countrywide, the Minister said;
Through the Universal Service Fund, we hope for the expansion of broadband access to underserved areas of the country. Moreover, to build on the penetration of mobile broadband, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services is urging Network Operators to increase roll-out of 4G mobile broadband. We also urge the same network operators to consider expanding setting up of Free WiFi Zones in public spaces in urban areas
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Free public Wi-Fi zones are needed in Zim
Free Wi-Fi access zones are laudable initiative since it will most probably lessen the digital divide Zimbabwe. A digital divide is when some members of their communities are being left behind because they don’t have access to the internet or computers. Yes, laptops and smartphones many people have those now but connecting those devices to the internet is more of a hurdle in Zimbabwe. Forget about inadequate network coverage in some places in Zimbabwe, the price of data (internet) is limiting the number of people who can fully access the internet. Data is pricey in Zimbabwe, we have the second most expensive data in Africa as I write now. Consequently, this makes it needful to introduce more Free wi-fi zones.
MNO’s may not be willing
With the continued decline of voice call revenues and the increased reliance on data revenues by MNO’s, I can hardly contemplate MNO’s wanting to enter this space of offering free Wi-Fi when they want people to buy data. In fact, in the near future, data will be the lynchpin of MNO’s revenues as the world witnesses increased digitization. So, it doesn’t make sense for them to subsidize or offer for free what will be integral to their revenue and bottom line in the near future.