By Wellington Zimbowa
THE country’s telecommunications regulator, Post and Telecommunications Regulation Authority (POTRAZ) is anticipating a huge spike in the adoption of advanced internet networks as the populace, motivated by the new normal environment backed by an anticipated abundance of the disposable economy as a result of a good 2020/21 farming season.
Presenting a 2020 state of affairs performance sector report, POTRAZ director-general forecast a positive upsurge in investment in network efficiencies by industry players together with Government.
“Resultantly, we are likely to witness a surge in demand for communication services, in particular, data and courier services as consumers adapt to the new normal.
“Hence, digitalisation is likely to be scaled up with operators repositioning themselves by upgrading and automating their networks to enhance agility to deliver new services /applications for fast-changing and versatile consumer needs,” noted Dr Gift Machengete.
Since the emergence of COVID- 19 that has brought down global economies, physical interactions became hard in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) social distancing protocols and lockdown national restrictions.
This has spurred demand for data as e-business and e-learning became the available options. But access to data costs and infrastructural gaps have been stalling unwarranted internet access by some sections of the society.
“Notably, the COVID- 19 pandemic has exposed the extent of exclusion and deepened pre-existing inequalities in access to digital services,” said the Potraz director-general.
He further amplified calls for massive investments in the digital economy to widen access and inclusivity and said access barriers makes programs such as e-education difficult to roll out.
Meanwhile, Potraz noted that the operational macro-economic environment was bleak for 2020, but setting hopes for a better environment in 2021.
The organisation says the annual revenue bill for the year under focus is RTGS 38.8 billion up from RTGS 4.5 billion in 2019.
However, operating costs for 2020 shot from RTGS 3.3 billion in 2019 to RTGs 20.6 billion in 2020.
Although the central Bank’s foreign currency auction system has sort to stabilise inflation, noted Potraz, inflationary pressures were still visible as service providers struggle to catch up with the inflationary pressures in their pricing.
By Wellington Zimbowa