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‘Companies in ICT to share infrastructure’

Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has said government would force infrastructure sharing among service providers as it seeks to improve telecommunication and data services in the country.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Speaking at a consultative workshop for finalisation of the Zimbabwe’s National ICT policy framework on Friday, Mandiwanzira said there was need to have a policy that restricted service providers to their core services and not infrastructure development.

Mandiwanzira also said there was confusion among government’s service providers as they were competing against each other to offer data services to the people.

“Why is there so much infrastructure development within the ICT sector yet the operators can share the infrastructure,” he said.
“Each tower costs money to put up, electricity costs money, generators cost money and even the guard manning the tower needs to be paid, yet one tower can actually look after everyone’s needs.”

Added Mandiwanzira: “We are not clear and we don’t have an ICT policy that defines the way we should shepherd the industry. We are making Zimbabwe suffer because of our own selfish individual interests.”

Turning to government, Mandiwanzira said it was not proper to have several government entities such as TelOne and Powertel among others competing against themselves in deploying fibre.

He said there was need to work together so that money is saved to deploy fibre to other areas which were not being covered currently.

The ICT minister said in the event that persuasion failed to bring the desired results, the ministry would force infrastructure sharing through legislation.

Mandiwanzira also said his ministry would look into high rates being charged by mobile operators when transferring money.

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