Thandiwe Katinhimure, Business Reporter
THE infrastructure sharing policy has started bearing positive fruits in the telecommunications sector with operators now realising the benefits of shared facilities, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Despite initial resistance to adopt infrastructure sharing by some players, Information Communication Technology (ICT) Postal and Courier Services Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, says the model was proving to be a huge success.
“When we pronounced the policy of infrastructure sharing, there were fears especially by one of the operators that the intention was to grab their infrastructure for the benefit of Government owned companies. But in actual fact, they have become the biggest beneficiary of infrastructure sharing,” he told Parliament last Wednesday.
“To give you an example, Liquid Telecom is part of the Econet Group and they are one of the biggest beneficiaries of infrastructure sharing. Today, they are laying their fibre optic cable on overhead pylons that are built by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) or by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC).
“Today, Telecel and NetOne are sharing towers and providing services to our people, that is infrastructure sharing. Econet is sharing towers that are owned by TelOne and that is infrastructure sharing.”
Minister Mandiwanzira said sharing infrastructure was also critical in meeting basic service standards and assisting the country to reduce imports. For example, he said erecting numerous base stations at one place creates a burden on electricity supply and fuels such as diesel, which drains more resources from the country.
“I am very glad that there is quite some extensive co-operation between the operators in our country in terms of infrastructure sharing,” said the minister.
Minister Mandiwanzira, however, warned telecoms companies to avoid indiscriminate digging and stressed the importance of preserving the environment for the good of communities.