Govt gazettes in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing law

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Busi­ness Re­porter

THE Govern­ment has gazetted Statu­tory In­stru­ment (S.I.) 137 of 2016 mak­ing it com­pul­sory for telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions op­er­a­tors to share in­fra­struc­ture.

Statu­tory in­stru­ments are a form of leg­is­la­tion that al­low the pro­vi­sion of an act of Par­lia­ment to be sub­se­quently brought into force or al­tered with­out Par­lia­ment hav­ing to pass a new act.

The new reg­u­la­tion was gazetted on Fri­day Novem­ber 4, 2016, in Harare af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the tele­coms reg­u­la­tor, the Postal and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity of Zim­babwe (Po­traz).

The ob­jec­tives of the SI are: “To elim­i­nate un­nec­es­sary du­pli­ca­tion of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture and to max­imise the use of ex­ist­ing and fu­ture telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture.

“To min­imise neg­a­tive pub­lic health, safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact caused by the pro­lif­er­a­tion of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture in­stal­la­tions and to pro­mote the or­derly and ef­fec­tive town and coun­try plan­ning in the pro­vi­sion of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices.”

The new S.I. also seeks to en­sure the pro­vi­sion of suf­fi­cient telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture in the coun­try.

Po­traz will over­see all is­sues con­cern­ing in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing, which in­clude car­ry­ing out in­fra­struc­ture au­dits and iden­ti­fy­ing in­fra­struc­ture to be shared, as well as en­forc­ing tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial stan­dards for in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing.

The reg­u­la­tor will also ex­er­cise li­cens­ing and reg­u­la­tory pow­ers in re­spect of in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing.

“All telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions li­cence hold­ers shall sub­mit ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing ar­range­ments for ap­proval within three months from the ef­fec­tive date of these reg­u­la­tions,” the new SI pro­vides.

Where a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion li­cence holder con­tra­venes sec­tions of the SI, they are li­able to face a penalty in ac­cor­dance to Po­traz’s SI 162 of 2008, which only has penal­ties of fail­ing to share in­fra­struc­ture un­der In­ter­net Ac­cess Providers and Aero­nau­ti­cal li­cence hold­ers.

The move is likely to cause fric­tion among the coun­try’s three tele­coms op­er­a­tors Econet Wire­less (pri­vately owned), NetOne and Tele­cel (both Govern­ment-owned).

Econet is on record as say­ing in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing would be un­fair on it be­cause it had spent more than $50 mil­lion on the mo­bile money dis­tri­bu­tion net­work.

The com­pany says it has been fac­ing height­ened pres­sure across the board to share the in­fra­struc­ture with sev­eral com­peti­tors who have en­tered the mar­ket.

Econet ear­lier this year in­sisted that it would not share its mas­sive mo­bile money in­fra­struc­ture with com­peti­tors un­til it gen­er­ates a sig­nif­i­cant re­turn on in­vest­ments made in a pe­riod span­ning about two decades.

The com­pany said, “In our view, it is un­fair to com­pel shar­ing of in­fra­struc­ture where one party does not have the in­fra­struc­ture that the other needs.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.