Vodacom announced its intention to deploy fiber optic cables by itself and for its own use in Mozambique. This is against the policies that are being initiated by the telecommunication regulatory authority in Mozambique, which asks the competitors to share their network so that investment in telecom infrastructure could be effectively utilized. However the South African mobile phone company Vodacom operating in Mozambique has rejected the recommendations from the Mozambican regulatory body, the INCM (National Communications Institute of Mozambique) that basic infrastructure should be shared between telecommunications operators, and instead, it is pushing ahead with its own network of fiber-optic cables.
Networks sharing is a good idea to avoid duplication of work. It also reduces investment cost by different operators. Effective utilization of the deployed fiber is the greatest advantage of sharing the network. While the governments in many countries frame policies to share the network, telecom operators, especially those are powerful in the market, fear to allow sharing as they will have to open the network for their competitors who do not invest in network infrastructure.
The existing national fiber optic cable is owned by the public telecommunications company, TDM, and Vodacom claims that TDM is providing an unsatisfactory service. At a Maputo press conference on Thursday, the chairperson of Vodacom’s Mozambican subsidiary, VM SARL, Salimo Abdula, said that the TDM fiber-optic cable fails, on average, for 180 hours every month.
Vodacom Mozambique started its operation in Mozambique in December 2003 with the main objective of offering high quality, reliable mobile network. The Internet penetration rate in Mozambique is only 4.8% while the African average is around 16%. Telecommunication de Mozambique (TDM), Mozambique’s national fixed-line operator, offers ADSL Internet access for home and business customers. Internet packages ranges range from US$21 for 512kbps with a 6 Gb cap to US$118 for 4 Mbps with a 43 Gb cap.
The three mobile operators in Mozambique such as Movitel, mCel, and Vodacom, also offer Internet services. Mozambique was the first African country to offer broadband wireless services using WiMax, but the country’s telecommunication sector needs more investments to develop.
SEACOM connected Mozambique with its submarine fiber optic cable in 2009 and the installation of EASSY submarine cable is also progressing well and the deployment in Mozambique is scheduled for July 2010. These deployments will provide Mozambique with less expensive international connectivity. Mozambique can also relieve from the costly satellite connectivity with the help of international submarine fiber optic cables.