Zim could enforce telco infrastructure sharing
- Published on 20 July 2012
Zimbabwe's parliament has added its weight to growing pressure from lobby groups who want mobile companies in the country to be forced to share cell-towers and terrestrial fibre networks.
ITWeb Africa reported earlier this month that Zimbabwe's telecommunications firms, such as Econent and Telecel, have not been willing to share their infrastructure with smaller players such as Telerix Communications.
However,the chairperson of the Zimbabwean parliamentary portfolio committee on media, information and communication technology, Settlement Chikwinya, said this week that the government could force telcos to share infrastructure.
He said this would help lower telco firms’' costs, which could be ultimately passed on to consumers in the form of lower communication tariffs.
"The committee has concluded that rival operators are not openly willing to share infrastructure such as base station towers and that this is having an effect on the costs for telecommunications users while also limiting development of under-serviced areas," said a government official with knowledge of developments around the issue.
It is common practice in countries such as South Africa for rival network operators to share infrastructure. The Zimbabwean telecom regulator also has statutes that require operators in the country to share infrastructure. But experts say that these regulations have not been strongly enforced.