Why Zim blocked Econet line
GOVERNMENTBy BiztechAfrica - Feb. 19, 2012, 4:08 p.m.
By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s government blocked Econet Wireless from installing a fibre optic cable linking Zimbabwe to high-speed undersea cables in Mozambique to preserve the monopoly of the service by state-owned fixed telephone operator, TelOne, according to Transport and Communications Minister Nicholas Goche.
Goche said a similar service was already being provided by struggling TelOne, adding that it was Government policy is that service providers must not compete for the provision of infrastructure, but on the provision of services.
“It is also government policy that the public sector must provide infrastructure such as national backbone and mobile cellular companies ride on the infrastructure. That service is already being provided by TelOne which is connected to the undersea cable in Mozambique.
Therefore it would not have made business sense to have another company providing the same service,” Goche said in an interview with a local weekly.
That suggestion was immediately shot down by Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa who said such a move was not part of government ICT policy.
“It is government policy to make sure that we have access to the undersea cables,” said Chamisa. Econet has remained quiet on the issue.
Goche’s remarks illustrate continued efforts by government, particularly by Zanu-PF officials to control Zimbabwe’s flow of information.
Econet has a history of fighting state intransigence: it only obtained its licence in 1997 after a three-year court battle with the State when the Supreme Court outlawed TelOne, then called the Post and Telecommunications Corporation’s monopoly of telephone services, and only then after the intervention of the late vice-president, Joshua Nkomo.
The latest episode is indicative of the fight for control over the country’s communication systems between Zanu-PF’s Goche and MDC’s Chamisa since the formation of the government of national unity in 2009.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
iPads for Ugandan MPsIn a move aimed at cutting the stationery costs threefold, members of the Ugandan legislature have received iPads. Read More
Airtel Malawi licence renewedMacra has approved Airtel Malawi’s application to renew its operating licence. Read More
WAAPP embraces tech for agricultureThe West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) in Nigeria has embraced the Electronic Technology Transfer (ETT) for agriculture. Read More
ITU: deep sense of loss over Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela, champion of downtrodden, wished to bridge digital divide, says the ITU in its tribute to the late statesman. Read More
BIH sets up clean tech centre of excellenceThe Botswana Innovation Hub has opened a Clean Tech Centre of Excellence to innovate in sustainable and environmentally sound solutions. Read More
Tributes stream in for Nelson MandelaFormer South African statesman and ‘father of the nation’ Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela has died at the age of 95. Read More
Govt, Lagos, telcos strike dealThe Federal Ministry of Communications Technology has ended the stand-off between the Lagos State government and the telcos, acting under the aegis of ALTON. Read More
Nigeria launches local content guidelinesNigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology has unveiled new local content guidelines for the Nigerian ICT sector. Read More
East Africa moves towards single currencyLeaders meeting at the 15th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Kampala, Uganda, have moved a step closer to a single currency for the EAC. Read More
FEATURED STORYGaming app introduces investors to trading
A new virtual stock market app is equipping would-be investors with the skills they need to trade.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHCorporate cyber security threats of the year
91% of organisations polled suffered a cyber-attack at least once in the past year, says Kaspersky Lab in its security review of 2013.
COMPANY NEWSSamsung, 49M embark on consumer educational drive
Samsung Electronics South Africa has announced a national consumer education campaign in support of the 49M initiative, offering practical actions to save energy in daily life.MTN launches new positioning campaign for enterprise market
MTN Group today unveiled a new Pan-African brand positioning media campaign for MTN Business, its enterprise business unit.