Zim telecoms quality and services improve

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s telecommunications quality and services has improved in the last few years due to infrastructure and network upgrades, the sector’s regulator has said.

The Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority official Shingirai Marufu said the country now has one of the highest call connection success rates in the world following the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 42 of 2016, which enforces quality of standards.

“In terms of call set up success rates we are now averaging 95 percent, which is exceptional performance according to the International Telecommunications standards,” he said on the sidelines of Potraz consumer awareness campaign in Mutoko on Saturday.

“Call drops have also declined to below one percent against the world standard of two percent,” he said.

This comes as consumers and businesses demand for multiple high-speed services and applications to fixed terminals and mobile devices is forcing telecoms operators to speed up installation of the necessary telecoms infrastructure.

Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator, Econet, has invested over $1,2 billion on infrastructure development in the past few years while NetOne, Telecel and Telone have all invested a combined figure of over $1 billion in infrastructure upgrade.

Marufu said improvements in call qualities also came after the regulator penalised two telecommunication firms for failing to meet quality standards of service regulations.

The assessment dwelt on network availability, call connection failure rate, call drop rate and call setup time and service coverage.

Marufu noted that the authority conducts the exercise in the course of employing its regulatory function regularly for both voice and data services from the end user viewpoints.

“The measurements are carried out in fulfilment of the requirements of the regulations which aim at ensuring all operators give their customers quality services as non-compliance to quality of service parameters is material breach of the licence conditions,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Potraz intensified its campaign for consumers to know their rights by taking the trail to Mutoko, where more than 10 000 people attended the roadshow.

The organisation, which has been seen as a non-effective regulator that watched as consumers’ rights were being infringed by service providers, is making amends by vigorously engaging the public since Gift Machengete took over reins more than a year ago.

Potraz’s executive officer research Phibion Chaibva said the campaign was meant to advise consumers on what action to take if they are not satisfied with the quality of service.

“We are preaching the gospel of empowering consumers with their basic rights; we are saying consumers have a right to choose a service provider of their own choice,” he said.

“Last year we were in Beitbridge preaching the same message, we moved to Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Midlands, so we are now moving across Zimbabwe telling our consumers that Potraz is there for them and to protect their rights.”

The campaign will be taken in all the country’s provinces.

He said consumers had a right to choose a service provider, right to privacy, right to get high quality services and right to end a contract if they are not happy. — Financial Gazette

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