Potraz announces plans to connect 2m people in rural Zimbabwe

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Zimbabwean regulator is seeking partners for multi-million dollar project which will see deployment of 250 new sites across African country

Zimbabwe 160x186The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) is set to launch a multi-million dollar project which will help connect two million people in areas where there is no connectivity.

The project will be funded under the Universal Services Fund, of which Potraz is the custodian. The USF is a pool of funds contributed by companies in the sector which is used to provision telecoms in under-served areas of Zimbabwe.

Potraz intends to deploy around 250 new sites across the country, with the aim of achieving rull population coverage, with the regulator releasing an expression of interest to commission companies to provide telecoms infrastructure.

“A network coverage study conducted by Potraz in 2016 established that 314 Wards, hosting 354,000 households and a total population of two million people, have no access to basic telecommunication services,” Potraz said in a statement. 

“Furthermore, a preliminary network planning exercise for coverage extension conducted by the Authority, established that an estimated 250 new rural sites would be required in order to achieve full population coverage. It is against this background that the USF has decided to rollout the MORAN (Multi Operator Radio Access Network) Project to provide telecommunication services to people living in underserved areas.”

The project will include the construction of passive infrastructure and active equipment, including microwave backhaul. The MORAN will be shared by three operators offering 2G and 3G services, with everything shared except the radio units for GSM and UMTS.

Interested suppliers have been asked to submit applications to the director general of the USF by 31 August, with further information available from towers@usf.gov.zw