Mandiwanzira imposes infrastructure sharing

Mandiwanzira imposes infrastructure sharing
Published: 16 August 2017
INFORMATION Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira has banned mobile network operators from individually constructing new base station towers, arguing the move has not only been outlawed, but primitive.

Since last year, government has been urging wireless network operators to eliminate "unnecessary duplication of telecommunication infrastructure", and share instead.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the country's largest telecoms company, has since agreed to share its infrastructure, as long as other players are prepared to foot maintenance costs on an equal basis.

Mandiwanzira told journalists in Bulawayo recently that infrastructure sharing is the way to go in modern society.

"You can no longer build your individual tower in this law you are supposed to build one which takes up multiple operators," he said.

Mandiwanzira said a consultative process involving all the operators, together with Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), agreed on the position regarding infrastructure sharing.

"Ultimately, they had a position and they submitted to me and we promulgated regulations in terms of infrastructure sharing, so by law, it is expected that there should be infrastructure sharing. Anyone building new towers in this country has to build a tower that can accommodate not less than three players," he said.

Mandiwanzira said infrastructure sharing was not only limited to the three existing major mobile network operators - Econet, Telecel and government-run NetOne - but others telecoms players as well.

"When we talk about infrastructure sharing, we are not only talking about the three, because we don't believe that they are the only ones who have the right to be doing business in telecoms.

"We feel that there are youngsters who have greater ideas who can use that infrastructure for a fee and set up their own networks that are known as mobile virtual operators and this is happening in South Africa," he said.

Mandiwanzira added:  "So, the thinking around that argument is a little bit old in the sense that we have to move forward with new operators using the same infrastructure."

The minister said infrastructure sharing was in line with global best practice and is cost effective.

"When I was appointed minister, I realised the way infrastructure in the telecoms sector was being employed was inefficient. There was a lot of duplication of infrastructure, which can actually be shared.

"In fact, the biggest networks have sold their infrastructure to infrastructure companies and then they sign what are called service level agreements that you will have to make sure that this infrastructure is working at this percentage availability," Mandiwanzira said.
- dailynews
Tags: Supa,


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