Potraz invites more mobile network operators

Dr Gift Machengete

THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) says it is accepting proposals from local and external investors interested in operating mobile network operators as space for such initiatives was still available.

At present, the country only has three mobile network operators namely, the State-owned, NetOne and two private players, Econet and Telecel.

Over the years, concern has been raised over the issue of licensing more players in Zimbabwe’s mobile telecommunications industry with experts being of the view that the country does not need any more new players.

However, Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete told State media this week that more players were required to facilitate affordable charges.

“We have not reached that point of over-saturation because what we need are more players,” he said in an interview with the national broadcaster.

Dr Machengete said it was within the interest of the nation that licences for new projects in the sector were also granted in line with the obtaining regulations governing the industry.

According to Potraz, the issue of mobile charges or tariffs continues to be monitored in line with the prevailing economic climate.

In a sector performance report for the quarter ended June 30, 2019, the telecommunications regulator indicated that players in the sector registered growth in revenues mainly due to upward tariff reviews as economic headwinds persisted.

The sector, like any other industry in Zimbabwe, has been exposed to a challenging economic environment characterised by inflationary pressures, erratic power supplies that affect network services as well as foreign currency shortages for procurement of essential equipment and network upgrade.

According to Potraz, mobile network operators during the period under review registered a 50 percent growth in revenue to $375 million from $249,9 million in the previous quarter.

This was against a 25 percent growth in operating costs to $233,7 million from $185,9 million recorded in the previous period on the back of increases in cost of products and services as inflation set in.
At $67,3 million, fixed telephone revenue was 58 percent above previous period as contribution of data increased while voice revenue declined. ZBCtv/Business Chronicle