Over 40k villagers to benefit from new base station

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Jeffrey Muvundusi

in BULAWAYO

AT LEAST 40 000 people in Matobo District are set to benefit from infrastructure development following a move by telecommunications company, NetOne, to construct a new base station at Silonkwe in Kezi, Matabeleland South Province.

The new base station, which was yesterday commissioned by Information Communication Technology minister Jenfan Muswere came as a relief to thousands of villagers who since independence have not known any telecommunication connectivity.

NetOne acting chief executive officer Chipo Jaisson said Silonkwe base station would provide 2G and 3G services to “avail cutting-edge services to the once marginalised communities in this part of Matabeleland South”.

“Over 40 000 people are benefiting from the infrastructure developed here at Silonkwe. Currently, NetOne are the only ones providing network to this area although this tower is already provisioned for infrastructure sharing to allow other telecommunications companies to follow suit,” Jaisson said in a speech read on her behalf by NetOne chief technology officer Raphael Mushanawani.

“Matobo District carries sentimental historical value for the country, as it is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, balancing rocks, rock paintings as well as tourist attractions.

“NetOne is delighted to be part of that history now, as this infrastructure will certainly assist in the creation of a new legacy of growth and development. “

In his speech, Muswere hailed NetOne for embracing the government’s initiative to provide coverage and digital exposure to originally marginalised rural populations.

“I acknowledge the sterling efforts of NetOne as it continues to expand its network footprint and increase service provision in previously marginalised areas,” said the minister while urging the Silonkwe community to embrace the new network connectivity.

Meanwhile, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) director-general Gift Machengete challenged telecommunication companies to continue embracing infrastructure sharing as part of bringing development, particularly to marginalised communities.

“You will appreciate that apart from providing wider consumer choice and enhanced service based on competition, infrastructure sharing significantly reduces capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating costs (OPEX). The math is simple — where there is infrastructure sharing — in any case, only three towers can service all the three mobile networks at three different sites. Where there is no infrastructure sharing, we would have nine towers for the three sites”, Machengete said.

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