The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) recently gathered various legal minds from the telecommunications sector to craft the infrastructure sharing framework, following the minister’s pronouncement to collectively come out with a national policy.
The drafting framework held from the 27th to the 30th of July 2015 at Imba Matombo was crafted by Legal experts drawn from the majority of public telecommunication providers including; TelOne, Econet, NetOne, Telecel, Powertel, Africom, Telecontract and Liquid and is now being submitted to the minister before due procedures to sail through parliament as a bill.
The meeting of the legal experts was a follow up to a series of consultative meetings with sector players on the fundamental principles to guide infrastructure sharing from a technical, economic and regulatory perspective.
The purpose of the legal consultative workshop was to consolidate the agreed principles into a legal framework that would facilitate mandatory infrastructure sharing thereby improving the current framework provided for under the Postal and Telecommunications (Interconnection Guidelines) Regulations, 2001 published in Statutory Instrument 28 of 2001.
POTRAZ Acting Director, Legal Services, Mrs Tsitsi Mariwo-Mbanje indicated that the objective of the new legislative framework is to provide a clear framework that will guide the sharing of existing and future infrastructure in an effort to reduce costs, increase quality and connectivity.
The legal practitioner added that infrastructure sharing is a concept that has been tried and tested regionally and internationally and back home there is already some form of sharing on the ground which has not been comprehensive enough to reduce costs of service provision in the country. Hence the need to come up with regulations that will help to level the playing field.
She also stated that in order to facilitate the implementation of the new regulatory framework POTRAZ will carry out an audit of the existing infrastructure to identify and create a database of infrastructure that is shareable and that which is not.
The feasibility or otherwise to share will be certified by the regulatory authority whenever an individual operator requests to share with another. That is done in order to ensure fairness in the process. However, for the new infrastructure, minimum design specifications that take into account sharing requirements shall apply. The draft framework will be presented to all stakeholders at an Open House consultative Forum to be held on the 28th of August 2015 at the Holiday Inn in Harare.