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ZIMBABWE

  • Spectrum Management Department, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).
  • "Public Notice... Regulatory Requirements for Low Power Devices including Wideband Data Transmission Systems Operating in the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz Bands," POTRAZ, 23 May 2011: "The requirements apply to both the portable unit and the Access Point (AP) of the wide band data transmission system. The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) declares (a) That the frequency bands 2400 - 2483.5 MHz (ISM), 5.15 5.35 GHz and 5.4705.725 GHz are designated for the use of Short Range Devices (SRDs) including Radio Local Area Networks (RLANs) which comply with the technical characteristics shown in the table below. (b) That SRDs including RLANs covered by and operating in compliance with this Directive are exempt from individual licensing; (c) That the new operating thresholds, rules and requirements enunciated in this notice will enter into force immediately..."
  • "ICT guide Zimbabwe," by Robert Ndlovu, Kubatana.net, 20 March 2009: "It appears that the ruling in the 90s to ban or restrict use [of] ISM frequencies 2.4 GHz and 5Hgz was... a strategic move to monopolize the bandwidth to Transmedia. It is the national broadcaster of television, radio and Internet access services in Zimbabwe on the afore mentioned frequencies... Transmedia owns and operates all terrestrial broadcast infrastructures and as a new strategic business unit of ZBC it bridged VHF and IP so as to tap into wireless access... Right now ISPs are trapped between a rock and a hard place as their last mile connection solution is limited to mainly to twisted copper wires since both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are locked down to one provider Transmedia..."
  • Neto, Best and Gillett report that Zimbabwe banned the use of the 2.4 GHz ISM band for unlicensed data links in January 2004. The "Telecommunications Services Regulations 2004," Statutory Instrument 18/04, published in the government gazette of 29 January 2004, apparently included this new policy. An ICT expert in Zimbabwe who requested anonymity confirms the ban, noting that the aim of the new policy was not just to reduce frequency congestion, but to force ISPs to lease lines or optical fibre cables from the incumbent telco. Moreover, the government asserts that the 5GHz band cannot be used by WLANs because it is reserved for "aviation." However, one can still apply for a license to use the 2.4 GHz band for wireless LANs on one's own property so long as the links do not cross "any public infrastructure such as roads." This license is said to cost $1200. Licenses for public wireless data networks are also available in the 3.5 GHz range, where telcos are developing metropolitan-area networks.
  • "Stringent regulations and exorbitant licensing fees," from Weekly Media Update number 2004-36, Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (6-12 September 2004).
  • "Zimbabwe Online offers Wi-Fi," Telegeography, 25 June 2007: "Internet service provider Zimbabwe Online (ZOL), which introduced Wi-Fi hotspots in the capital Harare two months ago, has reported that, after an initial slow response, demand is now 'overwhelming.' 'We have a large number of establishments requesting to become partners,' said a company spokesperson. The ISP's public Wi-Fi service, ZOLspot, enables internet connection speeds of up to 256kbps. Users purchase a voucher at any ZOLspot host premises, allowing access for periods of between 15 minutes and two months. ZOL plans to expand the service nationwide, with hotspots in Bulawayo and Mutare already up and running."
  • The previous item seems to be based on this report, from which we extract another detail: "Zimbabwe: Zim Online Introduces Internet Access Technology," The Harare Herald (published by the government of Zimbabwe), 22 June 2007: "ZOL account executive Mr Harry Harrison revealed that Wi-Fi was also available to individuals intending to install it in their homes or offices. 'Wi-Fi is available to individuals, but the only difference is that they would have to purchase the equipment unlike the ZOLspots with whom we enter into partnership,' he said..."
  • "Econet unveils US$20m upgrade plan," Agence France Presse (via The Namibian), 20 October 2006, in English: "Zimbabwean mobile phone provider Econet Wireless has launched a US$20 million (N$150 million) drive to upgrade services... [By February 2007] Econet clients would be able to access Wifi, Wimax, GPRS, 3G and M-commerce technologies..."
  • "Zimbabwe govt gazettes new telecoms regulations," Afrol News, 4 February 2004.
  • "Zimbabwe: Court overturns government telecom order," Intelecon, 5 February 2004 (though not the part about Wi-fi).
  • "The benighted mess that is the remnants of Zimbabwe's economy has slid further towards complete disintegration with the news that what limited Internet traffic there was in, and to and from, the country has all but come to a complete standstill after Intelsat cut access to its satellite bandwidth because of unpaid bills... the Zimbabwe Internet Services Providers Association (ZISPA) says that with the severing of the Intelsat link the country's access to the Internet 'is in a state of almost total collapse.'..." ---BalancingAct Africa 324 (September 2006).
  • "Security agents confiscate radio receivers in Zimbabwe," Media Institute of Southern Africa (via OneWorldAfrica), 4 January 2007: "Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe told MISA-Zimbabwe on December 7, 2006, that the radios had been confiscated from 17 teachers by persons who identified themselves as working for the President's Office. Majongwe said PTUZ bought the shortwave radio receivers for teachers in the area to enable them to keep abreast with developments in the country because of the poor television and radio signals of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' broadcasts. He said the agents, suspected to be members of the Central Intelligence Organisation, confiscated the radios because they were brought into the country illegally. Majongwe said the radios were bought in Harare adding that PTUZ can easily present the receipts in question... Zimbabwean listeners and viewers tune into foreign television and radio stations in Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique owing to the poor transmission signals and poor quality programming by ZBH. Due to lack of transmission sites and depleted stations, only 30 percent of the country receives radio and television coverage from the state-controlled broadcaster while the other 70 percent relies on foreign stations..."
  • "Licence shocker for news-hungry Zimbabweans," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 25 January 2007: "Watching television in Zimbabwe will soon be unaffordable for many after the authorities upped radio and TV licences by 2,500 times, according to reports Thursday. Radio listeners will now have to pay 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars (200 US dollars) per year up from 20 dollars (8 US cents), the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported. That is equivalent to nearly a month's salary for teachers, nurses and junior doctors... A car-radio licence now costs 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars, up from 500, and a television licence 150,000 Zimbabwe dollars, up from 650, according to new fees announced by the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)..."
  • "Zimbabwe government confirms jamming foreign radio broadcasts," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 1 March 2007: "...'We cannot allow foreigners to invade our airwaves without our authority,' [deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga] told parliament, according to quotes carried by the official Herald newspaper. 'We will continue to do it [jam their signal]. We need to protect our sovereignty. If you go to England you will not receive any foreign radio station,' he said. It was the first official confirmation of the practice, which has been condemned by press freedom groups..."
  • "Zim: Community radio lobby criticises government," by Dumisani Ndlela, The Zimbabwean, 16 November 2010: "The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) has criticised government for failing to license independent broadcasters in the country, describing recent changes to the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) Act as saddening. Government recently amended the BSA Act by providing for the arrest of persons tampering with broadcasting equipment, a fortnight after the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu and the parliamentary committee on standing rules and orders called for the appointment of a properly constituted Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to allow the opening of the airwaves... A senior member of the inclusive government, formed by ZANU PF and the two former opposition MDC party formations, told a MISA broadcasting conference in Harare that there was lack of implementation of broadcasting reforms agreed prior to the formation of the government... 'Regrettably, nothing has happened. It means that what was agreed by the political parties has not been implemented,' said Welshman Ncube, a constitutional lawyer and Minister of Industry and Commerce in the inclusive government... The portfolio is controlled by a ZANU PF minister. 'We have a situation where even though the legal framework permits, we still have no movement and are unlikely to have movement...'"

Africa - Regional Overview