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Potraz breaks foreign networks dominance

by Staff reporter
17 Dec 2018 at 05:08hrs | Views
THE growing network infrastructure investment in previously unserved areas by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has increased connectivity in the country.

The move has brought to an end the era of foreign network dominance especially among communities situated along the country's borders.

A number of people in border districts such as Matobo, Beitbridge, Bulilima and Mangwe had in the past years been using foreign telecoms network services for radio and mobile phones due to absence of local infrastructure. These communities were literally cut off from the rest of the country in terms of critical communication and were using foreign exchange to buy airtime.

In response to the situation Potraz, using the Universal Services Fund (USF) and support from its partners, has recently been installing base stations targeting border areas and remote communities so as to bridge the network gap and ensure universal access.

A week ago the telecoms watchdog officially commissioned the new Mayobhodo Moran base station at Khalanyoni area, Mangwe District. This followed the commissioning of another base station in Phumula area in Tsholotsho North.

In July this year another base station was commissioned near Maitengwe Border Post in Bulilima District.

Potraz is spearheading the projects under the infrastructure sharing model, which was recently adopted by Government to scale up connectivity and cutting investment costs for the telecoms sector.

Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Courier Services, permanent secretary, Dr Sam Kundishora, officially launched the Mayobhodo project on behalf of Minister Kazembe Kazembe.

"Through this facility network coverage has been extended to this previously unserved area. This facility will no doubt transform the lives of people in Khalanyoni as it brings along prospects for improved social cohesion at individual, family and community levels and prospects for new businesses," he said.

Also speaking at the event Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete said the new base station has an excess of value addition as it is a multi operator radio access network facility for the extension of network coverage and provision of basic and broadband telecommunication services. He said the network operators sharing the site share back-haul and long-haul transmission, the network management system, as well as the base station controller.

Dr Machengete urged service providers to outsmart each other in terms of service provision and customer care in order to win the hearts and loyalty of customers.

Chief Hobhodo said the Government's initiative through Potraz was progressive as villagers in his area used to rely on network services from Botswana, which proved to be expensive and at times inefficient.

"Before the base station, people of Khalanyoni were greatly disadvantaged in terms of connectivity. This area was left to source network from Botswana. I would like to thank our Government for this great achievement in our area," he said.

"We are far from the business centre in Plumtree but the coming in of this base station means we are now better connected politically, socially and financially."

Dr Machengete said similar projects will be rolled out in other unserviced areas across the country using USF, a special fund under Potraz for network investment. Research has shown that the country's infrastructure sharing model has yielded up to 35 percent drop in the cost of investment in the ICT sector, and will largely benefit customers in the sector.

Meanwhile, Potraz handed over 50 computers to seven schools under the Government's e-learning project. These are Khalanyoni High School, Mambale, Hlanganani Secondary, Mayobhodo, Hobhodo, Bango and Tjedza Primary Schools.

Source - chronicle