PLANS by Government to consolidate the infrastructure of telecom companies which fall under its control are at an advanced stage, a senior Government official has said. Government owns TelOne, NetOne and Powertel while it also holds a significant stake in Africom. Under the plan, the companies will be consolidated under one structure in an effort to create efficiency and boost profitability while at the same time erasing duplications.
Information, Communication, Technology, Postal and Courier Services Deputy Minister Dr Win Mlambo last week told the Herald Business that Government will scout for a company with adequate financial muscle to take charge of the setting up of broadband and telecommunication infrastructure so that telecom operators focus on core business of service provision.
“There is a move towards consolidation simply because of our realisation that there has been a lot of wastage through duplication. We are experiencing major problems and it is important that we avoid waste wherever we can.
“We will do consultations as we have always done in the past and we are going to use reputable companies to do the consolidation of infrastructure.” Government is also working towards making sure that all telecoms companies under its portfolio are well equipped to compete in the ICT sector.
“Quite importantly we want to form companies that can compete strongly within the ICT sector. “The wastage going on through lack of infrastructure sharing is tantamount to loss making but through consolidation we are bound to achieve success.
“We want this project to kick off as soon as possible because as you know one day longer is now recorded as wastage to Government. Sources in the ICT sector told the Herald Business that Government might settle on TelOne to advance the consolidation and running of broadband infrastructure. ZESA Holdings chief executive Josh Chifamba recently confirmed that Powertel will be consolidated with telecoms firms which are controlled by Government.
On a broader scale, Government has been calling for infrastructure sharing among all telecom companies saying that failure by the players to share infrastructure had resulted in unprecedented environmental degradation as broadband providers sought to install fibre optic cables.