Tawanda Musarurwa Senior Business Reporter
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has come into agreement with mobile network operators for the establishment of new base stations under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) arrangement.
Zimbabwe’s three MNOs include NetOne, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and Telecel Zimbabwe.
Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Kazembe Kazembe, said the development is part of the broader initiative to enhance telecommunication services in Zimbabwe.
“Potraz has also agreed with mobile network operators to fund the construction of 15 base stations in under-served areas under the Build-Operate-Transfer arrangement.
“The base stations will be constructed starting this year. This development should see identified areas without sufficient network coverage being catered for,” said Minister Kazembe.
Official figures from the ICT Ministry show that to date 20 shared base stations have been constructed by Potraz.
Five of these were constructed last year.
He said this while officiating at the launch of the Beitbridge Community Information Centre (CIC) yesterday.
POTRAZ director general Gift Machengete said PPPs (private public partnerships) are critical in national ICT roll-out.
“Private Public Partnerships in ICT infrastructure roll-out and in ICT training and development are therefore the way to go if ever we are to attain our ICT access and use targets.
“In this regard, I would like to implore on the Private sector to put their financial muscle behind Government ICT programmes that are aimed at improving both access and use.”
The Beitbridge CIC is one of the 146 that have been set-up in the Zimbabwe’s 10 Provinces.
Said Minister Kazembe: “The establishment of Community Information Centres alone will not address all the ICT needs of our communities. Government is working hard to ensure that there is adequate mobile network coverage in all wards in Zimbabwe.
“The Universal Services Fund, whose objective is to provide universal access to quality postal and telecommunications services to all Zimbabwean citizens, is funding establishment of cellular base stations that will be shared by all operators throughout the country.