THE Posts and Telecommunication Authority of Zimbabwe is mulling a legislation compelling mobile service providers to share infrastructure.
Potraz director general Eng Charles Sibanda said the firms were only agreeing to share base stations when there is a commercial benefit accruing.
Eng Sibanda said this while giving oral evidence before a parliamentary portfolio committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology. The Committee chaired by Mbizo MP, Mr Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) wanted to know about the operations of Potraz and how it had used the Universal Services Fund.
“We will be addressing these issues in the coming licensing regime. Their licenses are now coming to an end,” he said.
“The current license regime for mobile operators allow them to build infrastructure and services, they are offering both infrastructure and services and we will be looking into that so that they share infrastructure and only compete on services.”
Eng Sibanda said an operator is only admitting to share infrastructure when it is convenient to it. He was responding to a question from Mr Chikwinya who said there was need for firms to share base stations and only compete on services. Potraz, he said, had raised more than US$44 million in Universal Services Fund in the past three years.
The Potraz boss said voice operating industry accounted for the bulk of the money, US$41, 3 million while internet access providers raised US$2million.
Eng Sibanda said they had constructed base stations in a number of under developed areas that were due for commissioning while other projects were still at tender stage. Musikavanhu MP, Mr Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) asked if it was not possible to provide an option where one could bar “call me back” message facility which he said could be irritating.
Eng Sibanda said while his organisation was prepared to consider the proposal, it was his first time to encounter a person who complain about the facility.
Mberengwa East MP, Cde Makhosini Hlongwane asked the Potraz boss if they were satisfied by services being offered if not what were they doing.
Eng Sibanda said they were not happy with some service provided and in some cases they had penalised them.
“We have penalised them but we do not go to the press to announce that we have penalised this operator,” said Eng Sibanda.
He, however, said operators had cited power outages as one reason for poor service, an excuse which Potraz had accepted.