The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) has called on the power utility company, ZESA to prioritize players in the ICTs sector, particularly the mobile network players who have been rendered inefficient in the wake of worsening power cuts, 263Chat can exclusively report.
Electricity supply in the country has been restricted to an average of eight hours per day, with most backup generators used by service providers at base stations meant to run for limited hours, hence affecting service.
“As POTRAZ we are lobbying Zesa to consider prioritizing the ICT sector. ICT is the spine of the economy it is intertwined with health, education , agriculture to tourism hence viability and sustainability of the sector is paramount for us continue being open for business,” POTRAZ, Head of Consumer Affairs and publicity, George Manyaya told villagers in Mahusekwa at a Consumer Awareness Campaign over the weekend.
“The nationwide challenge of commercial electricity has affected the sector as all base stations run on electricity as their primary source of power. Most of the sites have generators but by design, they are meant to run periods, which are less than the 18 hours,” added Manyaya.
ICTs have become a critical component of the economy, converging banking, retail, communication and insurance among the key economic sectors.
Recently, Econet Wireless, the largest network service provider in the country recently experienced faults at its data center as a result of the power cuts. This shuttered operations of its mobile money transfer platform, Ecocash for close to 24 hours.
The country resultantly suffered heavy losses due to the temporary shutdown of the market’s biggest mobile money transfer platform.
“To the extent possible, ZESA should prioritize the transmission and core network so that data centers, hub sites, and hub centers among others should not be subjected to load shedding. Even in terms of accessing fuel, the network operators need to be prioritized. This will enable consumers to transact and communicate both locally and globally” added Manyaya.
The call comes at a time Government has increased the electricity tariff for non-exporting companies from 9.86 ZWL cents equivalent of 1US cent to 45 ZWL cents equivalent of 5 US cents per kilowatt/Hour, a development expected to compound matters for operators in the ICT sector.