POTRAZ to Spend U.S.$21 Million On 43 New Base Stations

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority says it will spend at least US$21 million from the Universal Services Fund to construct 43 new base stations in under-serviced areas throughout the country.

The USF is a fund into which the country's licensed telecommunications companies contribute 2 percent of their annual revenue.

The fund was established to finance the expansion of telecommunications services in outlying areas which are under-serviced.

Potraz has collected US$41.3 million since the country adopted multiple foreign currencies in 2009. Director-general Charles Sibanda said the process was at the tendering stage. "We have set aside US$24 million for the USF second phase to be used to construct 43 base stations," he said.

The first phase of the USF project saw at least eight base stations being constructed in under-serviced areas.

Other purposes of the USF include assisting in the training of personnel in the provision of postal and telecommunication services and contributing towards research and development in the field of postal and telecommunication services.

Potraz liaises with relevant Government ministries, Members of Parliament and other stakeholders in the postal and telecommunications sectors in identifying least serviced areas in each province for possible funding excluding Harare and Bulawayo.

Targeted areas are then surveyed with the participation of licensed operators before funds are disbursed for any project that is meant to bring universal access to the public living in under-serviced areas.