The government has revealed that the infrastructure sharing model for the telecommunications sector is still an ongoing process with operators expected to work together.
The Permanent Secretary in The Ministry Of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Engineer Sam Kundishora says the infrastructure sharing model is expected to result in operators saving costs on capital projects.
Engineer Kundishora was speaking on the sidelines of The Postal And Telecommunications Regulatory of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) annual general meeting in Harare this Wednesday.
“The process is really ongoing and we continue to check the progress for the benefit of the industry,” he says.
The Universal Services Fund (USF) will put up the tower and the operators will come and hook on the tower their active devices, they will share common facilities on the tower such as electricity which means each operator will not have to put up their own infrastructure,” he explained.
Secretary for State Enterprises Reform, Corporate Governance and Procurement in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Willard Manungo commended POTRAZ for tabling its annual report to shareholders.
“This is what we really need for the benefit of the government and key stakeholders so that we fully benefit from the digital economy,” he said.
Infrastructure sharing in the telecommunications sector is expected to result in cost effective coverage, especially in rural and marginalised areas.
After years of negotiations, Econet and NetOne signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) earlier this year for an infrastructure sharing deal.
Mobile infrastructure sharing in telecoms is thus an important measure to reduce costs. It is useful in start-up phase to build coverage quickly and in the longer-term scenario to build more cost effective coverage, especially in rural and less populated or marginalised areas.
In 2014, POTRAZ crafted a consultation paper on regulations for infrastructure sharing which envisaged that an infrastructure framework based on an open access model, would realise the attainment of universal access to broadband and other ICT services on a reliable basis and at affordable prices in line with technological developments.
In 2016 the government gazetted regulations which made it compulsory for mobile telecommunication operators to share infrastructure, a move which cut costs by as much as 60 percent.