Govt rolls out $25m for ICT sart-up pro­jects

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business -

THE Gov­ern­ment has fi­nalised struc­tures to­wards the roll out of the $25 mil­lion In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) in­no­va­tion fund aimed at avail­ing fi­nan­cial re­sources to sup­port start-up of tech­no­log­i­cal pro­jects.

Ac­cord­ing to ZBCtv, ICT, Postal and Courier Ser­vices Deputy Min­is­ter Dr Win Mlambo high­lighted that funds have been mo­bilised and the $25 mil­lion ini­tia­tive is set for launch. The ICT in­no­va­tion fund is meant to bankroll tech­no­log­i­cal pro­jects which have so­cial and eco­nomic im­pact.

The fund is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween the Min­istry, Postal and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity of Zim­babwe (POTRAZ) and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions firms.

ICT, Postal and Courier Ser­vices Min­is­ter Supa Mandi­wanzira is on record say­ing the ICT in­no­va­tion fund was born out of com­plaints from the play­ers in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor who wanted the Gov­ern­ment to ei­ther ban or sti­fle use of over the top ser­vices (OTTs) such as What­sApp, Viber and Skype. In its 2016 first quar­ter re­port, POTRAZ said: “OTT voice ap­pli­ca­tions such as Viber, Skype and What­sApp call­ing have be­come pop­u­lar al­ter­na­tives for in­ter­na­tional call­ing as they’re sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper; this has re­sulted in fall­ing in­ter­na­tional voice traf­fic and in turn fall­ing rev­enue from in­ter­na­tional voice ser­vices.”

Dur­ing the pe­riod un­der re­view, POTRAZ in­di­cated Econet and NetOne gained mar­ket share of 61,9 per­cent and 24,8 per­cent re­spec­tively whereas Tele­cel’s mar­ket share of voice traf­fic de­clined by great­est mar­gin from 14,3 per­cent in fourth quar­ter of 2015 to 13,3 per­cent in the first quar­ter of 2016.

In the fourth quar­ter of 2015, Econet and NetOne mar­ket share stood at 61,1 per­cent and 24,6 per­cent re­spec­tively.

In the first quar­ter, mo­bile op­er­a­tors gen­er­ated a to­tal rev­enue of $167.7 mil­lion re­flect­ing a 12.3 per­cent de­cline from $191.1 mil­lion recorded in the pre­vi­ous quar­ter.

“All the mo­bile op­er­a­tors reg­is­tered de­clines in their rev­enues. Mo­bile rev­enues have been de­clin­ing due to the sub­sti­tu­tion of tra­di­tional mo­bile ser­vices with OTTs as well as the gen­eral eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment,” said POTRAZ — ZBCtv/Busi­ness Chron­i­cle.

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