Zim Telcos Struggle With Ongoing Powercuts
Zimbabwean telcos are thinking about shifting to solar energy amid the country's ongoing power outages, but say the costs are quite high.The issue has prompted the Zim government to consider giving out incentives to attract the import of solar equipment, while Treasury has removed the customs duties on solar kits.
Power cuts occur regularly in Zimbabwe and telcos are said to be fuelling generators to power base stations for over 18 hours a day.
Executives have complained that the costs are "piling up."
Econet, which dominates the market, has informed subscribers that it is also feeling the impact of the economic crisis following the government's recent approval of an electricity tariff hike. The telco said that it needs a cash injection of US$60-million to convert its base stations to solar.
Zimbabwe's cabinet has since set up an inter-ministerial committee that includes the ICT Minister Kazembe Kazembe, to manage the crisis.
Kazembe has urged telcos to upgrade their base stations to solar in order to deal with the power crisis.
He said that the government recommends that the telecoms operators install solar for their base stations. Kazembe also confirmed that some of Econet's base stations are already operating on solar and that NetOne is also considering going the same route.