THE Government is coming up with legislation that will allow the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to issue converging licences to telecommunications operators. The Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development yesterday said it was preparing the requisite legislative changes that will enable Potraz to issue the licences. Converging licences allow telecoms operators to diversify their services.
Addressing stakeholders at a consultative workshop on telecommunications network cost analysis and modelling in Harare yesterday, deputy director of communications in the ministry Mr James Madya said the remodelling of the Postal and Telecommunications Act would be completed by June this year.
"Licences are about to expire and because of technological changes that are happening in the industry we cannot continue to issue operators with the old licence which only allowed an operator to work within the stipulations of that licence. The new licence would allow operators to diversify their products," he said.
Mr Madya said Econet and Telecel's licences expire in June and when they renew them, they would be able to get the new converging licences. He added that technology was taking over and operators would be able to offer diverse products that are not covered in their current licences. Mr Madya noted that the amendment of the act would also enable Potraz to carry out their mandate on a level playing field.
"In order to make Potraz a good regulator, we need to come up with policies that would enable them to level the playing field," said Mr Madya.
He said the amended act would include the compulsory sharing of infrastructure between operators.
Mr Madya said the sharing of infrastructure by operators would help in cutting costs for both the consumer and the operator as individualism was contributing to the exorbitant tariffs that were being put in place by these operators.
"If operators work together it would help reduce their expenses. Including sharing of infrastructure in the policies would also make it easier for Potraz to regulate the exercise," he said.
Speaking at the same event, Potraz head of economics, tariffs and competition Mrs Hilda Mutseyekwa said work was currently underway to formulate a framework for infrastructure sharing between networks.
"We are already holding meetings to facilitate this and we expect the framework to be complete by the end of the year," she added.