Potraz completes infrastructure sharing rules

via Potraz completes infrastructure sharing rules | The Herald September 4, 2015

THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe has completed the initial draft rules for compulsory sharing of infrastructure in the telecoms sector.

According to the draft, Potraz will soon audit the infrastructure to determine the areas for sharing with telecom companies compelled to submit information as requested from time to time.

All telecom operators shall submit existing infrastructure sharing arrangements for approval within a period of six months from the effective date of the rules.

“Any telecommunication licence holder who contravenes or fails to comply with the requirements of provisions of laid down rules shall be guilty of an offence.

“Telecommunication licence holders shall submit information on infrastructure sharing as requested by the regulatory authority from time to time.

“All telecommunication licence holders shall ensure that standardised equipment and unified technical interfaces are used when sharing infrastructure.

“Telecommunication licence holders shall ensure that the Quality of Service provided to an Infrastructure Seeker shall not differ from the quality of service within the Infrastructure Provider’s own infrastructure network.

“Potraz will be empowered to resolve disputes about infrastructure sharing at the request of either party using appropriate dispute resolution mechanism,” the draft says.

According to Potraz, infrastructure sharing could cut costs by 15 to 30 percent and reduce individual companies’ capital outlay by 60 percent.

Government is on record expressing concern over high costs of telecommunication services resulting from duplication of investment in infrastructure.

Potraz acting director general Mr Baxton Sirewu last month said, after a meeting with operators, that one open-house meeting with stakeholders would be left before the draft rules are sent to the Attorney-General’s office.

The open house meeting with stakeholders entail participation of councils and local authorities for their input before the draft is put into enforceable law.

It is expected that once enforceable, the infrastructure sharing rules would bring down the cost of telecoms services and promote investment into the sector. The rules are expected to be ready for implementation before year end.

Potraz contends that sharing infrastructure reduces the time operators require to enter the sector, cuts down barriers and enables Zimbabwe to keep pace with the rapid technological developments across the entire world.

Major telecoms companies in Zimbabwe include Econet Wireless, Telecel and State- owned mobile operator NetOne, which are mobile networks and TelOne, a State-owned fixed telecoms company, rarely share infrastructure.

A technical expert working group set up by Potraz has examined general principles of sharing, the pricing methodology, the role of Potraz, role of the Government and its relevant arms in telecoms infrastructure sharing.