Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Potraz clears air on Starlink

by Staff reporter
15 Mar 2024 at 03:10hrs | Views
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) yesterday said its doors are open for Starlink to operate in Zimbabwe following an expression of interest by the United States-headquartered company to set up its internet services in the country.

The telecoms regulatory body said Zimbabwe, under the Second Republic, is committed to ensuring universal and affordable internet connectivity for all citizens.

In a statement, Potraz Director-General Dr Gift Machengete said the authority has no intention to block Starlink, but awaits an application from the company which is owned by the world's richest man Mr Elon Musk.

"They have expressed interest to offer services in Zimbabwe and have been provided with all the relevant information for them to apply. They have not yet done so. This means that their service offering in Zimbabwe is illegal," he said.

Thus, Dr Machengete said, anyone found using Starlink in Zimbabwe will be in breach of the law and will face the consequences.

"The public and key stakeholders should not fall into the trap of relying on flawed information aimed at unduly influencing policy and regulatory decisions pertaining to the provision of telecommunication services in Zimbabwe.

"We would like to urge our valued stakeholders to verify all information on Postal, Telecommunication, and Courier Services with us, before treating it as fact as some may be malicious and may potentially induce undue panic and despondency," he said.

Dr Machengete also clarified the perception that tariffs are expensive in Zimbabwe when compared to regional peers following recent social media posts, some with unsubstantiated figures, which portrayed data or internet charges to be the highest in the region.

"First, it is necessary to reveal that tariff comparisons that are done by Potraz are based on out-of-bundle tariffs or headline tariffs for the various offers in the region.

"This is because out-of-bundle charges are more reflective of the cost of providing services, which enables the authority to balance service affordability and operator viability. Hence it is the most objective criteria for comparison purposes," he said.

The authority refrains from using data bundles for comparison as this may be misleading.

"This is because bundled services are normally discounted and may come with freebies and fringes whose intrinsic value may be cumbersome to quantify.

"Hence bundled services do not necessarily reflect the cost of providing services, but are promotional in nature as they are designed for business strategic reasons which include customer acquisition and retention, amongst others," he said.

Source - The Herald