By Malcolm Meja
Telecoms and postal regulator Potraz held a consultative workshop on Value Added Services (VAS), yesterday at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare. The intent of the workshop was to engage all stakeholders in order to draw up a comprehensive framework that will ensure sustained growth and development in the ICT sector.
VAS is a popular telecommunications industry term for non-core services, or, in short, all services beyond standard voice calls and fax transmissions.
In the telecommunications industry, on a conceptual level, VAS add value to the standard service offering, spurring subscribers to use their phone more and allowing the operator to drive up their offer services. For mobile phones, technologies like SMS, MMS and data access were historically usually considered value-added services, but in recent years SMS, MMS and data access have more and more become core services, as people have opted more for data services from calls.
Speaking on behalf of Director General Dr Gift Machengete yesterday, Acting Director General Kennedy Dewera that the consultation on VAS is intended to generate discussion and solicit views from stakeholders in the industry.
“The aim is to come up with appropriate interventions that ensure sustained sector growth anchored on innovation, fair competition, affordability and good quality of services,” said Dewere.
He added, VAS will foster innovation in very aspect of human life and urged all stakeholders to embrace it or be left behind.
“VAS is all about innovation. Innovation is the buzzword and the worldwide belief that will catapult us to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, were everything will be ICT driven” he added.
Potraz looks forward to drafting a Consultative document with all stakeholders contributions in constructing a well-developed framework will enable benefits to consumers, promote entrepreneurship and at the same time create additional revenue streams for the service providers and effective cooperation and collaboration amongst various participants to form a healthy.
Other key stakeholders present at the Workshop include the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Econet, Powertel, Telecel, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, and representatives from the Constituency of Consumers of ICT Services