Why Netone Bought Obsolete Equipment from ZBC For $200 million

If i was the ICT, postal and courier services minister, i would have fired Netone MD, Mr Reward Kangai  for purchasing  the obsolete equipment which even the state owned broadcaster is desperately trying to do without, come the June 2015 ITU deadline.

Surprisingly the news on the “folly move” did not come from Netone but the minister himself, Hon Supa Mandiwanzira when he announced the good news to cabinet, then for one second I would think if i was the President, i would have fired these two straight away.

Earlier this Year the media went awash with stories about NetOne purchasing analogue frequency that was being used by the ZBC and Transmedia for $200 million. The move raised more questions than answers as interested parties could not get the idea.

Questions raised were all asking the reasons behind purchasing such frequency since the country is going digital. However, this publication managed to get hold of NetOne Managing Director Mr. Reward Kangai who then justified the purchase of the frequency.

By Gift Chirauro

Speaking in a video interview with TechnoMag, at the recently ended IAD Summit, the NetOne boss mentioned that since the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) decided that the spectrum released because of the digitalization can be used for the 4th generation LTE mobile communication, NetOne then decided to buy it for the future.

“Television broadcasting has been operating under UHF in the 700 MHz frequency spectrum and digital migration brings efficiency therefore broadcast won’t need much spectrum as much was previously occupy with analogue TV broadcast thereby bringing digital dividend,” said Kangai.

He added that, what NetOne bought is the 700 MHz, which is to be applied in the 4th generation so that it increases the propagation distance by as much as 2 to 3. This will enable the Mobile Network Operator to provide high speed broadband coverage to rural areas.

With NetOne getting the data casting license they will be able to utilize the 700 MHz spectrum, with a lot of free space and this will increase the MNO’s opportunities as confirmed by Mr. Kangai.

This is opening a business scenario by achieving those objectives accessibility and affordability,”   he said. Further added that, this will also provide more coverage with few base stations to achieve a greater footprint.

What does this mean to NetOne and its business plan? NetOne now need to reduce their base stations since the 700 MHz travel further, thus in other words an immense investment in as far as their network coverage is concerned.

Also, the ICT sector is taking a greater portion in the ZIMASSET as it cuts across all sectors of economy with 4G going into rural areas, via this 700 MHz, NetOne together with the economic blueprint will be able to leverage these sectors of economy thereby changing lives.

ELearning should be extended to the rural areas, meaning, we need broadband connectivity which is currently accessed via satellite and it’s very expensive. Therefore, as Mobile Network Operators we need to sit down and relax but to provide 4g so that there is no latency delay,” said NetOne boss.

NetOne is also working on connecting the computers that were provided by the president in the rural areas so as to make e Learning a success. The initiative will see the launch and the rapid spread of the 4th Generation and LTE to the rural areas.

Apart from the E-Learning program, NetOne is also working with various doctors for the introduction of Tele-medicine. Clinics will be remotely linked to Professional Doctors at a distance for the diagnosis of patients who will not travel long distance to access medical help.

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