In 2016 the government of Zimbabwe through the ministry of ICT had delegates going to China and signed a “mega-deal” that was set to transform our sector.
Representatives from the ICT ministry signed an MOU that was exciting yet all but died down and thankfully yours truly still remembers.
The Zimbabwe government signed a $30million deal to bring a first-ever super gateway that was supposed to account for all international traffic and help generate revenue for the government.
The technology does not only account for revenue but also cuts out on possible traffic refilling.
The extensive technical survey has been already done and signed off by all concerned parties yet still, this remains nothing but a dream.
How expensive is it to call the outside world from Zimbabwe and how do we bill those who are trying to reach us home?
The state of international telecommunications infrastructure deserves a critical review, particularly the cost structure of the existing setup, where every operator operates their own gateway to the world.
The government must use the architecture of ICT infrastructure as a tool to ensure that ICT delivers business outcomes for all Zimbabweans.
ICT infrastructure is expected to reduce costs for ordinary users and operational businesses. One of the largest costs that are scuttling progress for Zimbabwean households and businesses is the cost of foreign currency, particularly when Zimbabweans must connect telephonically to the outside world.
It is simply scarce, and scarcity means unaffordable for most ordinary citizens and businesses.
International calling is now a preserve for the rich. Service providers are literally minting money with the potential for nifty skimming through elaborate transfer pricing and regulatory avoidance (ahem, just had to clear my throat there!).
International telecommunications lubricate business transactions and serve as a vital link to the outside world.
There is a role for the government to consolidate this infrastructure for the good of everyone and to ensure competition is based on service and not infrastructure. Greater resource accountability in this space does no harm to the nation’s foreign currency purse.
Zimbabwe needs reliable and affordable international communications infrastructure that is robust and serves the interests of the generality of the population. Zimbabwe needs a single gateway infrastructure that is supported by well-competing players who are responsible for the services they deliver to the nation.
This onus is on the new ICT minister Honourable Muswere to pursue these developments of Zimbabwe Is to fully collect potential revenue, surely, they must be thinking of this as a foreign currency generating a possibility for Government.
It may also bring in much-needed discipline in the international termination space (ahem, what a dry throat!).