Mobile services provider NetOne early this year shocked most people when it purchased obsolete equipment from ZBC and Transmedia for $200 million.The move raised more questions than answers as interested parties failed to understand the reason behind the transaction.
Most of the questions were centred on why NetOne was buying the obsolete analogue equipment when the whole world was going digital.
NetOne managing director Mr Reward Kangai told TechnoMag, at the recently ended IAD Summit in Victoria Falls that since the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) pronounced a deadline towards digital migration they saw a very good opportunity to take over a spectrum being used by the broadcaster.
He said they decided that the spectrum can be used for the 4th generation LTE mobile communication.
“Television broadcasting has been operating under UHF in the 700 MHz frequency spectrum and digital migration brings efficiency therefore broadcast won’t need much spectrum as much was previously occupied by analogue TV broadcast thereby bringing digital dividend,” said Mr Kangai.
“What NetOne bought is the 700 MHz, which is to be applied in the 4th generation so that it increases the propagation distance by as much as 2 to 3 times.
“This will enable the Mobile Network Operator to provide high speed broadband coverage to rural areas.”
The data casting license, Mr Kangai said will allow NetOne to be able to utilise the 700 MHz spectrum, with a lot of free space and this will increase the MNO’s opportunities.
“This is opening a business scenario by achieving those objectives accessibility and affordability,” he said.
He added that the spectrum will also provide more coverage with few base stations.
This he said will see NetOne reducing their base stations rollout since the 700 MHz travel further, which is an immense investment as far as their network coverage is concerned.
The development Mr Kangai added would help NetOne achieve the objectives of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustained Socio-Economic Transformation.
“E-Learning should be extended to the rural areas, meaning, we need broadband connectivity which is currently accessed via satellite and is very expensive.
“Therefore, as Mobile Network Operators we need to sit down and see how we can provide 4G so that there is no latency delay,” said the NetOne boss.
NetOne is also working on connecting the computers that were donated to various rural schools by President Mugabe to ensure that E-learning becomes a success.
Apart from the E-Learning program, NetOne is also working with various doctors for the introduction of Tele-medicine.
Mr Kangai said clinics will be remotely linked to professional doctors at the diagnosis of patients who cannot travel long distance to access medical help.
◆ The writer is the editor for TechnoMag, more in depth on www.technomag.co.zw. TechnoMag is Zimbabwe`s Premiere Technology Magazine, More In depth from; www.technomag.co.zw on Follow us on Tweeter at TechnoMagZw. Like us on ww.facebook.com/technomagzw