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No room for another mobile operator in Zim

No room for another mobile operator in Zim

Zimbabwe telecoms regulator, the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) has confirmed it will not license any additional mobile company in the near future because of the country's limited spectrum and said there is no allowance for regional or segmentation licensing.

According to Potraz, the country does not have the capacity to accommodate other telecoms companies.

"Zimbabwe has to live within its spectrum, and the spectrum is a scarce commodity," said Engineer Baxton Sirewu, Director of Technical Service at Potraz. "It does not make a lot of good reason to say licence an operator to provide 3G services in Northern Zimbabwe and another one in Southern Zimbabwe."

There has been widespread speculation in the market that a new entry will arrive to compete head-on with state-owned operators Telecel, NetOne and Econet.

The government blocked the entry of South Africa's MTN Group and Kenya's Safaricom into country's national telecoms space in order to protect local operators from larger multinationals and promote their organic growth.

This was a contentious move and the new Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube wants the government to proceed on the partial privatisation of beleaguered state-owned telecoms, the fixed phone and internet services telco TelOne, as well as mobile operators NetOne and Telecel.

Ncube wants the companies to be privatised in the next twelve months.

He said, "For LTE 4G, the demand for spectrum is even higher, it is even more spectrum-hungry technology. It is a twenty megahertz channel ... and for us to really enjoy 4G, we need to give each operator one hundred megahertz."

Potraz will make spectrum available to telcos "willing to share the spectrum," the Minister added.

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