Telecoms operators to share infrastructure


Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
TELECOMMUNICATIONS operators have agreed to share infrastructure as this promotes the national interest, cost cutting and reduces duplication, Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Deputy Minister, Dr Win Mlambo has said.

“We’re deadly serious about doing the correct thing in the country. Starting with approval, the concept has been approved.  We spoke to stakeholders and network operators who have anonymously agreed that it’s going to be done and it’s the correct way to do.

“It has been done elsewhere in the world to cut costs, avoid duplication and speed up roll out of networks,” said Dr Mlambo.

He said the ministry was still dealing with legal hurdles, which will show how the process will be undertaken. The Deputy Minister said the public and the private sector should know that the process will take time as necessary procedures have to be followed.

“We’re now going through legal processes and identifying the best method of proceeding with infrastructure sharing. It’s in stages, it’s not a quantum event. I have spoken about the approval, the discussions, consultations and the standardisation, which must be talked about among network operators,” said Dr Mlambo.

He said authorities in the sector have overcome issues to do with mobile operators who were reluctant to share their infrastructure.

“Complaints where money is involved are always expected because you are talking of competition among network operators. So you will find that network operators who are dominant in the market will want to maintain their dominance,” he said.

“That is understood but we are saying we are looking at the national interest where the provision of communication to all communities should be done. While network operators are driven by commercial imperatives, where they run after the dollar but we are there to moderate that so that people may understand.”


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