State telcos owe Econet USD85m

GOVERNMENT

|
Image: Douglas Mboweni. By BiztechAfrica
Douglas Mboweni

By Alfonce Mizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network, Econet, says it is owed USD85 million by State-owned entities, TelOne and NetOne, in interconnect fees, up from USD70 million from February this year.

Chief Executive Douglas Mboweni told the Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and ICT development that the company has been trying to get the fees owed to them for a long time and would continue to hold discussions to have the money paid out. He however noted that this was affecting the group as it the interconnect fees were taxed on uncollected revenue.

Teledensity was at 78% and expected to reach 100% in 2014, he said. Mboweni said that an increase of 10 mobile phones per 100 people boosts GDP growth by 1.25% in developing countries.

Internet usage in Zimbabwe was at 30% against Africa’s average of 17% and slight below the rest of the world on 32%.

Mboweni defended the tariffs, saying Zimbabwe’s were cheap when compared to other countries in the region particularly South African.

“The tariffs are a product of costs that the company incurs from supporting the network.”

He reiterated that power outages continued to be major drag on operations but the group had 72% of the network under backup power in the form of generators, at a cost of USD15 million a year.

Mboweni said there was need for policy alignment especially on network development adding that the operators should be the drivers of this policy. He said this with regards the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is used to finance provision of services in under serviced areas, to which the network operators have to contribute a levy of 2% of their total revenue per year.

Mboweni said there was no accountability of the USF and all the money that the operators had paid prior to dollarization had gone into the pockets and was eventually swallowed up by hyperinflation.

“Even post dollarization there has been no meaningful investment, save for the 10 sites that are currently under construction,” adding that USF was no longer as relevant as it was in the past.

Mboweni also said that getting approvals for a site was long taking upwards of 12 months for a site to be approved thus affecting network grade of service and customer experience.

On network sharing, Mboweni the group currently had 300 shared sites with Telecel, Telone, NRZ and Local authorities. Only NetOne did not want to share. He noted that before the expansion, Econet had approached NetOne for infrastructure sharing but they had refused.

“And now because Econet has grown big after the expansion, the same network is crying foul that we do not want to share.”

Mboweni said that it costs between USD80 000 to USD250 000 to construct a base station.

Mboweni said that most of the dropped calls and non-delivered messages were mainly caused by power outages and that the calls have to pass through various stages in the network.

When asked about the littering of the environment by recharge cards, Mboweni said the group was moving towards the elimination of paper cards through the use of e-wallets, available on the Ecocash platform.

“We are encouraging our vendors to migrate to the electronic recharge cards,” he said.

Mboweni said the country was now covered under the network save for the national parks with a subscriber base of 6.4 million. 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

Search News

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

International Conference on the Internet on in Gaborone

The University of Botswana is hosting the First International Conference on the Internet, Cyber Security and Information Systems in Gaborone to the 20th May 2016 at The Gaborone International Convention Center (GICC).  Read More

Again, NCC’s 2.6GHz spectrum auctions fall through

The planned 2.6 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum auction scheduled by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may have fallen through. Read More

Government rules out OTT regulation in Ghana

Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Communication, Ato Sarpong, has told key industry players in Accra that the government has no intention of regulating over-the-top operations in the country.  Read More

Rwanda, MasterCard collaborate on cashless society

The Government of Rwanda has announced a collaboration with MasterCard to fast-track the country’s move to include 90 percent of its citizens in the financial mainstream. Read More

Mobile spam: NCC reads riot act to telcos

Worried by a flurry of complaints, the Nigerian Communications Commission has warned mobile network operators to take decisive action to curb unsolicited text messages and calls to customers. Read More

NCC chief urges Fed Govt to relax forex policy

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has urged the Federal Government to consider relaxing its forex policy for telecommunications companies. Read More

No deal with MTN on fine, says ComTech minister

Nigeria’s Communications Technology Minister says no concrete deal has been sealed in respect of the fine imposed on MTN. Read More

CA rejects misleading reports on Essar sale

Francis Wangusi, Ngene Gituku and Christopher Wambua The Chairman of the Communications Authority of Kenya board of directors, Ngene Gituku, has refuted allegations of impropriety and unethical conduct around the sale of Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd. Read More

Smart Africa seeks One Africa Network

ICT Ministers and telecoms regulatory bodies meeting in Kigali have resolved to implement the new One Africa regional telecommunications framework initiative this year. Read More

Kenyan mobile operators fail on QoS targets

The Communications Authority of Kenya says Kenya’s mobile operators have failed to meet Quality of Service standards for the third year running. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks UnlimitedArbor Networks
Advertisement

FEATURED STORY

Government should encourage youths in ICT earlyGovernment should encourage youths in ICT early

Youths should be given more encouragement to develop their ICT skills, an 11-year-old app developer told Kokumo Goodie.

IN DEPTH

IBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South AfricaIBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South Africa

IBM is opening a new IBM Cloud Data Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new cloud center is the result of a close collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom and is designed to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.  

COMPANY NEWS

Things to ask your MSSP to increase your network’s security

Arbor Networks has drawn up five questions to ask an MSSP to better ensure security throughout your organization.

Networks Unlimited officially launches Mellanox Technologies Open Ethernet Solutions

Networks Unlimited, a value-adding distributor of converged technology, data centre, networking, and security technology throughout Africa, has hosted the official Johannesburg launch of Mellanox Technologies,