Julia Mugadzaweta Herald Reporter—
Government has introduced regulations that will compel all telecommunication companies operating in the country to share infrastructure. The regulations — made by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services — were published in a Government Gazette last week through Statutory Instrument 137 of 2016.Infrastructure sharing is expected to bring down the cost of telecommunication services and promote investment into the sector.
Government contends that sharing infrastructure reduces the time operators require to enter the sector, cuts down barriers and enables Zimbabwe to keep pace with the rapid technological developments across the entire world.
Major telecoms companies in Zimbabwe include Econet Wireless, Telecel and state-owned NetOne, which are mobile networks and TelOne, a State-owned fixed telecoms company.
The companies rarely share infrastructure. According to SI 137 of 2016, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) would “exercise licensing and regulatory powers in respect of infrastructure sharing”.
“The authority shall carry out infrastructure audits and identify shareable infrastructure, determine sites and categories for telecommunications infrastructure sharing in the public interest as well as review and monitor sharing arrangements, subject to section 6 (3), direct telecommunication license holders to share infrastructure, enforce technical and commercial standards for infrastructure sharing, enforce quality of service standards” reads the SI.
Government said no telecommunication license holder would share infrastructure without an approved infrastructure sharing agreement.