A SENIOR official with an international telecoms service provider, WIOCC Africa’s Carrier’s Carrier, has challenged local telecommunication companies in the country to compete on the quality of services and not infrastructure.
By Tarisai Mandizha
This comes after government urged the country’s three mobile phone entities – Econet, Telecel and NetOne to share base stations infrastructure as it had become clear the competing service providers were not prepared to cooperate with each other.
Speaking at a Broadband forum in Harare last Friday, WIOCC chief commercial officer James Wekesa said sharing infrastructure was very possible as it reduced duplication and under-utilisation on fiber hence poor return on investment (ROI).
“Collaborate and compete is the new rule of the game. Work together, companies must collaborate, that is the only way to survive,” said Wekesa.
He said for businesses to remain viable there was a need for the introduction of value added services which will increase the broadband uptake. He added that telecoms companies should have a benchmark and network with players in other markets to keep abreast with new developments in the sector.
“Invest in low cost devices to increase broadband uptake. Let’s stop crying about opportunity, let’s just open our eyes and see,” he said.
Wekesa said Zimbabwe, with a population of 12, 9 million and literacy rate of over 90%, had great growth potential for the broadband market.
Zimbabwe, Wekesa said, could take advantage of Internet to market the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly to be hosted later this year so that the whole world will know about the event.
“What are we doing about the Victoria Falls, and the big conference coming up?” asked Wekesa.
WIOCC is jointly owned by 14 major telecommunication operators in Africa, all first or second tier operators in their respective countries. Wekesa said opportunities that broadband brings to Africa included e-justice, e-learning, e-government, e-tourism, e-farming, video surgery and e-coaching among a host of other benefits.