Zimbabwe has officially announced a US$24-million tender for the erection of base stations expected to improve network penetration in the country.
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said the contracting firms awarded the tender are to install 43 base stations across Zimbabwe, immediately the tender closes at the end of October 2012.
Tenders are invited from established and qualified civil and structural engineering companies for the design and installation of passive telecommunications infrastructure in designated rural areas of the country under the Universal Services Fund (USF), according to a statement made by POTRAZ.
Zimbabwe has over 9 million cellphone subscribers served by three mobile network operators comprising Econet Wireless, Telecel Zimbabwe and the state-owned NetOne. TelOne makes the fourth telecommunications company as well as the sole fixed line operator.
If installed as expected, the base stations will improve the voice and data quality over the network. Zimbabwe has been having poor network, and POTRAZ recently threatened to fine the mobile network operators for the same.
The regulator also challenged the three mobile operators to share their infrastructure or risk losing their operating licenses.
This announcement comes together with the recent plans by the Zimbabwean government plans to introduce fibre-connectivity through Namibia. Namibia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has already agreed to open a link with Zimbabwe to get access to the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and its extension connectivity to the World Wide Web.
These two major announcements show the government’s efforts in ICT progression targets set for 2015 by the Zimbabwe National ICT Policy Framework unveiled in 2007.