Econet Should Worry About NetOne-Telecel Infrastructure Sharing

#MondayBlues can reveal  that NetOne and Telecel have begun sharing both passive and active infrastructure in a move which is likely to give them competitive advantage over Econet,as Telecel mulls 4.5G NetWork Expansion. 

While mobile networks have traditionally been sharing some form of passive infrastructure, NetOne and Telecel are set to accelerate and share more of their resources in a move that is likely to capacitate them against Econet wireless Zimbabwe.

By Toneo T Rutsito

Speaking during the recent Telecel cocktail event, ICT, Postal and Courier Services minister Supa Mandiwanzira divulged that they are now sharing base stations and seek to share even more to cut operational costs .

After a rigorous  pushing for the national infrastructure sharing policy Netone and Telecel have begun sharing base stations and more is being done to cut costs while increasing national coverage.

The minister said  he does not see any basis why these Telcos should have separate generators, maintenance, security and towers over isolated areas, which is in fact a major expense component.

The move if successfully implemented will see NetOne riding on Econet urban base station while Telecel Will also run on most NetOne rural base stations which ultimately gives the two state owned telecoms a market share advantage.

NetOne and Telecel combined, have slightly overtaken Econet infrastructure, in terms on quantity, hence sharing may be translated into better coverage.

On the other hand, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe competes heavily over these two players, in the past, mainly due toits wide coverage advantage, but the latest development may render their advantage equal.

If NetOne and Telecel decide to fully share both their active and passive network, they can even spare old base stations for new site, which will mean fresh investment without any capital expenditure.

Infrastructure sharing mandatory

Any past investment they have both made in same areas can be ultimately moved to cover other grey areas, as they still can capacitate the same base station with active components to connect different networks on it.

This move could be of national importance if all mobile operators including Econet, come and work together towards signaling same areas with at least passive infrastructure.

However one of the reasons why Econet pulled out of the infrastructure sharing agreement was mainly because the negotiators did not show much to share during the give and take negotiations.

However much more bigger opportunities can be identified by allowing all operators to compete on services, rather than on infrastructure invested, as this leads to slow development.

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