NANCY MWAPE, Lusaka
THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is reviewing the business model of COMESA Telecommunication (COMTEL) to align it with emerging market trends.
Responding to a press query, COMESA director of infrastructure Baptiste Mutabazi said the COMTEL project will enhance intra- and extra-regional trade, capital flows and investment, and overall socio-economic development by assisting in creating a digital economy.
“In the emerging global information economy, access to information is vital in all facets of social-political interactions and productive processes,” he said.
Mr Mutabazi said the COMTEL project aims at establishing a regional multiservice telecommunications infrastructure linking telecom operators in the northern, eastern, central and southern Africa region.
He said the network will utilise existing and new high speed fibre backbone, mobile and fixed backhauls networks to provide a variety of Next Generation Network (NGN) services for ordinary users, enterprise, as well as operators.
“The design of the COMTEL infrastructure is based on a converged network platform architectures where multiple products and services are delivered using a common platform, seamlessly, faster and cost-effectively to anywhere on any device,” he said.
Mr Mutabazi said the proposed COMTEL business model, once operational, is expected to lower telecommunications tariffs in the region, including harmonisation of interconnection charges which makes cross-border communication expensive in the region.
He said the project is in line with COMESA’s mission to achieve sustainable economic and social progress in all member states through increased co-operation and integration in all fields of development.
Mr Mutabazi said that the realisation of COMTEL project objectives requires cooperation between national operators, multinational operators, states and regional bodies.
He said it is the realisation of a working alliance which has delayed the project and not the technical aspects.
Mr Mutabazi said the COMTEL project is still a viable project and needs proper planning and execution across multiple borders, cultures and economic zones.