The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) yesterday launched a telecommunications traffic monitoring and revenue assurance system so as to ensure full accountability in the provision of public telecommunication services.
The system is a highly advanced regulatory tool, which allows the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe to combat network fraud, enforce billing integrity and revenue assurance, and deal with disputes on national interconnections, should they arise.
But it cannot examine the actual content of what is carried by the channels, only where the traffic comes from and goes and who is paying for what.
Speaking at the launch, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, said the system would be able to measure national interconnection traffic, also referred to as off-net traffic.
Minister Muswere said the system gives the Government the capability to measure and compute various statistics on both domestic and international telecommunication traffic.
“Government is pleased that the system will assist in combating telecommunication fraud perpetrated through traffic refiling and the use of grey routes or illegal gateways in the conveyancing of international traffic,” he said.
“The fraudulent traffic ends up being refiled into public networks through sim boxes or illegal gateways therefore prejudicing the operators and the economy of the much needed foreign currency earnings. Full visibility of the sector, accurate statistics, accountability, and elimination of fraud are key elements for the growth of the ICT sector in Zimbabwe.
“It is therefore my considered view that the implementation of the telecommunications traffic monitoring and revenue assurance system was overdue as the sector forms one of the major pillars in stimulating economic growth and development towards achievement of vision 2030. Without a robust system in the ICT sector, the sector was prone to manipulation and leakages.”
Minister Muswere said Potraz played a pivotal role in supporting the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Master Plan together with the Sustainable Development Goals which were all tailored to expedite and guarantee the achievement of Vision 2030.
Government was committed to ensuring growth in the sector and would continue to play its oversight role as well as providing a forward looking and adaptable policy environment for the ICT sector.
The committee implementing the new system comprises Potraz, the ICT Ministry, Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Ministry responsible for protection of personal information and the operators of telecommunications networks. It had the key role of providing oversight on the operation of the telecommunications traffic monitoring and revenue assurance system and in ensuring the protection of personal data and information.
“It must be underlined at this point that the telecommunications traffic monitoring and revenue assurance system does not have the capability to monitor content and conversation. The system is limited to interacting with the signaling segment of the network and does not access traffic channels,” Minister Muswere said.
Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete said the regulator had been reliant on mobile network operators’ self-declaratory regime, where operators declare their own revenues.
He said the information and statements previously provided by operators had the potential of being inaccurate thus potentially prejudicing the nation of revenue.
“This commissioning facilitates the implementation of a cutting-edge technology- based system that will effectively monitor telecommunication traffic and provide accurate real-time data collection. This will give the authority better visibility of market dynamics which is essential for effective, efficient and forward looking regulation,” said Dr Machengete. Herald