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Zim regulator demands swift action on dropped calls

Zim regulator demands swift action on dropped calls.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has ordered telecommunication companies to reduce their call drop rate to at least 2%.

In telecommunications, the dropped-call rate (DCR) is the percentage of telephone calls which, due to technical reasons, are cut off before users are able to complete their conversation and before either party hangs up.

Acting Director General of the regulator, Baxton Sirewu confirmed new regulations for the telecoms sector had been gazetted last week.

Potraz has accused operators of failing to optimise their networks to keep up with the rapid rise in voice and data traffic, and has demanded that they extend coverage to 90% within a year.

95% network coverage will be mandatory within the next two years, according to the regulator.

Sirewu says consumers feel like they are being 'ripped off' by their service providers because data disappears from their mobile phones and SMS/MMS messages are delayed.

Mobile companies must reduce message delivery time to less than two minutes says Potraz.

Telco response

There are multiple factors that impact on the time it takes to deliver an SMS explains Telecel spokesperson, Francis Chimanda. "Factors like network coverage and the availability of the subscriber amongst other factors are at play in determining how long a message takes to be delivered."

Mobile firms are also expected to keep records of SMS/MMS for the minimum of years before they are deleted.

Chimanda says while it is feasible, he notes that Telecel will incur substantial investment costs to upgrade the current archiving system and to purchase the hardware necessary to store the huge amounts of data over a long period of time.

"Currently we do not store content on behalf our subscribers. Any additional costs in procuring additional hardware for content storage are likely to see the cost being passed onto subscribers," he says.

A plethora of regulations has been introduced at a time when the telecoms firms are facing revenue decline due to liquidity crisis crippling the country.

Last year the regulator also demanded that telecommunications operators reduce their rates by at least 15%.


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