Zim regulator would welcome new mobile players

7 Nov 2019

The head of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has said that new players would be welcomed into the country’s mobile market as this would help to increase competition and drive down costs for end users. A report from The Chronicle, citing ZBCtv, quotes Gift Machengete as saying: ‘We have not reached that point of over-saturation because what we need are more players.’ The regulator says it is accepting proposals from local and overseas investors.

The country is currently home to one privately owned cellco, market leader Econet Wireless, plus two state-backed firms, NetOne and Telecel. The POTRAZ chief did not specify whether the new players should be mobile network operators (MNOs) or MVNOs. There are currently no MVNOs active in Zimbabwe. In December 2018 POTRAZ spokesperson Baxton Sirewu said that the market could not support a new MNO, with a lack of available spectrum limiting how many players could operate effective networks.

Even if a fourth network does not emerge, new investors could still enter the sector, with the government looking for a buyer for NetOne and its fixed line sister company TelOne. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Telkom and MTN Group of South Africa have both been linked as potential bidders.