While we may have experienced the worst downtime ever from Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, analysts within the sector have told TechnoMag that their worst fears are yet to come, where mobile base stations will one day do the inevitable, by just waiting for ZESA to resume.
Telecommunications operators do not have their own energy sources with a capacity to run national grids, and should the situation continue to go unabated, more downtimes will haunt us.
While Econet and Potraz have already started utilizing solar base stations, with the government running a total of 23 Moran base stations, total connectivity is still not guaranteed as these are just few areas for a nation running a total of 8 884 active base stations, they need a total of 10MW of power daily to keep their base stations working.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe was recently completely down for more than 6 hours, though the fault was more technical and not due to lack of power, Analysts say such downtime will be inevitable, should the power issue remain unchanged.
NetOne is already switching off base stations outside power supply, according to a recent tweet on their page, customers from Murambinda and probably other rural areas are longer getting the diesel supplied generators.
Part of the tweet read:
No network in Murambinda. Do something urgently. Tava kumukira network na11pm. Tenge tichimhanyidzana futi neZESA nguva idzodzo— hatinahama moses (@hatinahamamoses) July 21, 2019
No network in Murambinda. Do something urgently. Tava kumukira network na11pm. Tenge tichimhanyidzana futi neZESA nguva idzodzo”
With the ZESA effects being felt countrywide, Mobile Networks Operators are silently reducing their focus on less viable areas, with lower returns already facing downtimes as diesel priority is now being made to areas of economic viability.
“We can not be obliged to keep a less performing base stationS at the expense of commercial ones. Cities and Towns are already in dire need of diesel. It does not make business sense for us to continuously run rural generators when revenues there are low”, said a source who could not be named
Telecommunications regulator Potraz, an arm of government will soon be seized with the matter of making sure that they help maintain uptime of all base stations, as they collect most of the revenues from the players themselves, on behalf of the government.
Potraz has however been installing its own solar-powered base stations called Moran, with the capability to run all mobile networks from the site, using the same hardware and software, including solar panels.
This move could have been a lifesaver had Potraz installed plenty of such base stations in and around Zimbabwe, a move which may have stimulated infrastructure sharing as well