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