Zimbabwe government blocks Econet

Telecoms

The government has blocked a bid by Econet Wireless to install a fibre optic cable linking Zimbabwe to high-speed undersea cables in Mozambique.

Transport and Communications minister Nicholas Goche told reporters recently that the service was already being provided by Econet competitor and State-run TelOne. Government policy is that service providers must not compete for the provision of infrastructure, but on the provision of services, Goche said.

It is also government policy that the public sector must provide infrastructure such as national backbone and that mobile cellular companies ride on the infrastructure. That service is already being provided by

TelOne, which is connected to the undersea cables in Mozambique. Therefore, it would not have made business sense to have another company providing the same service, according to the Minister. But Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa said the move was not part of government ICT policy.

Goche urged the country’s three mobile phone operators Econet, NetOne and Telecel to consider sharing infrastructure such as base stations. Goche also said a strategic partnership deal between MTN and TelOne was still under discussion.