The Sunday News
Njabulo Bhebe, Business Reporter
THE Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has played a crucial role by facilitating tailor-made services that have facilitated ease of doing business during the lockdown period.
The country introduced a national lockdown in March to prevent the spread of Covid-19, in the process disrupting the “normal” way of doing business in companies.
Speaking to Sunday News Business, Powertel Communications marketing manager Mr Prosper Mutswiri said the lockdown period has become an eye-opener to all sectors who have now recognised that the ICT industry is a key pillar that has ensured businesses continue to operate.
“The lockdown came in as a warning to the entire world that it is time for the fourth industrial revolution where technology now need to co-exist with society. The telecommunications industry witnessed sudden new users for its services. It brought accelerated innovation where operators were forced into quick enhancement of their services to meet the sudden quick growing demand of connectivity,” he said.
“Business all of a sudden started demanding more ICT solutions in a different way. They started requesting for remote connectivity solutions and virtual working solutions and operators were forced to develop what is called Bespoke ICT solutions which is a specific tailor-made solution for each business.”
The period saw network providers such as Econet Wireless, TelOne, NetOne, Telecel and Powertel, among others having to introduce new solutions within a short space of time so as to cater for the increasing demand of their services from users.
Mr Mutsviri also applauded the support given by the Government through Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe in capacitating operators with free spectrum in 3G and LTE.
“Potraz in a way came to rescue operators by releasing free spectrum in 3G and LTE in trying to capacitate operators in containing the new demands as customers have not really changed their paying patterns due to reduced disposable income caused by disruption of business during Covid-19, as a result many operators are focusing on retention as a strategy than growth allowing operators to introduce new services that are now demanded by customers,” he added.
The sector has had a cross-cutting effect during this period offering different e-communication platforms such as video conferencing and online advertising space.
Mr Mutsviri said the period ushered a new form of competition which was now based on experience rather than infrastructure.
“Operators were forced to accept that competition is no longer on infrastructure but on experience because every business can no longer afford a day of non-connection,” he said.