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Is Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Bullying Smaller Service Providers?

01 February, 2013
ICT Africa Writer
February 1, 2013

A few may be aware of the vicious court battle that Strive Masiyiwa fought against the government of Zimbabwe many years ago to be allowed the license to operate a mobile network. Strive’s victory was indeed a victory for all Zimbabweans as it opened doors to the competition in the telecommunication industry and opened up readily available and better quality ICT services for many Zimbabweans.

The regulatory environment in Zimbabwe has continued to evolve since then, with more and more companies gaining different classes of licenses to offer ICT services throughout Zimbabwe. It would be disturbing if the same Econet Wireless that helped to pave the way to a competitive ICT environment were engaged in activities that are intended to sabotage new players and prevent them from getting a fair short at offering competitive services for Zimbabweans.

We have just become aware of a public statement released by Acquiva Wireless, one of the newest licensees, complaining about Econet Wireless blocking their Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls. Below is the full text of the statement:

Public Announcement - 01st February 2013

Aquiva Wireless would like to advise new and existing customers that there is currently an ongoing interconnection dispute between ourselves and Econet Wireless. Due to this we are currently unable to guarantee calls terminating to Econet.
In November 2012, Econet unilaterally blocked our calling card service. The calling card is a service where anyone around the world using their mobile or fixed phone places a call to our network access number and we give them the flexibility to make calls to other networks that are connected to Aquiva locally and internationally at affordable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Rates. The subscriber to our service enjoys affordable calling rates that we have, since VoIP has cheaper calling rates.

We have since approached the telecommunications regulator POTRAZ to mediate in the matter and we are hopeful that a solution beneficial to all will be reached soon. We are certain POTRAZ will resolve the issue in an amicable way as their mandate is to create a level playing field in the sector. As it is we have been heavily prejudiced, financially, and our subscribers inconvenienced by Econet Wireless’ actions.

Aquiva through its subsidiary Algo has come to be in the forefront of providing cost effective solutions to the general public. Besides the calling card mentioned earlier, we have come up with services that eliminate roaming charges for Zimbabweans travelling abroad. The general public needs to enjoy benefits that technology is ushering in which is what Econet Wireless is resisting.

The company offers International Calling card services, fixed telephone services as well as Nongeographical number allocation in which anyone with a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop which has reliable internet connectivity on any network can now receive and make calls to other mobile devices, ordinary landline or mobile phones. Mobile phone users, tablet, laptop and desktop users download and install a suitable app for their device from our website; subscribe for service using an online service registration form. Subscriber will be furnished with settings to install and they can make and receive calls from anywhere in the world as long as their device is connected on the Internet.

Aquiva is currently connected to Econet Wireless and TelOne and all International networks. An Interconnection agreement has been signed with Telecel and should resume service by the end of February 2013. With our Wimax 4G Broadband and Metro Fibre coverage in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Beitbridge, Mutare and Chirundu as well as VSAT service nationwide, we are able to keep you connected.

In the meantime we thank you for your patience and ask that you bear with us as we seek to resolve this matter.

For more information, please contact Bhuker Chikono on +263 8630 000 010/+263 772 929 728 or Email bhuker@aquiva.co.zw / info@aquiva.co.zw Website http://www.aquiva.co.zw


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