Econet BlackBerry service ‘banned’

20 Jun 2011

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has been told to stop allowing its subscribers and employees to use BlackBerry services on its network by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), reports Bulawayo24.com. The newspaper claims that Econet has been banned from deploying the service commercially until it receives a specific licence to do so. Late last year Econet partnered Canada’s Research in Motion (RIM), the manufacturer of BlackBerry devices, for a pilot deployment in Zimbabwe, but a spokesperson from POTRAZ indicated that the usage of the technology’s encrypted data communications applications was still under regulatory consideration. A statement quoted by the paper read: ‘POTRAZ has the prerogative to approve any new telecommunication service that is introduced in the country and that includes BlackBerry services which must get prior approval by the authority before their commercial launch for public consumption. The authority is still considering Econet’s request to introduce BlackBerry services in the market.’ Ranga Mberi, Econet’s corporate communications manager, commented: ‘As previously stated, BlackBerry is one of several value-added services that Econet has considered as part of a continuing process of investigating opportunities and developing innovations for the market. These processes happen to be under the guidance of the regulatory authorities, who take steps that may be necessary at various stages of developing a product. We are unable to comment on specific stages at this time. However, we continue to engage the regulator, as per custom, to ensure full compliance at all times.’