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World Radio-communication Conference: Zimbabwe records positive progress

Dr. Machengete (third from left) taking notes at the meeting

Zimbabwe has made significant strides in the area of wireless technologies, a preparatory meeting by the country ahead of the World Radiocommunication Conference has revealed.

In his keynote address at the meeting in Harare today, Dr. Gift Machengete, the Director-General of the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), said despite the inhibiting circumstance of the previous four years, Zimbabwe has made significant strides in the area of wireless technologies.

World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) are held every three to four years to review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations. The last WRC was held in 2019.

“The intervening period has seen Zimbabwe develop and launch its own satellite – ZimSat-1. Let me take this opportunity to add my voice in congratulating the Government of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) on this achievement.

“This achievement shows all of us that indeed, Zimbabwe can undertake research and development and produce equipment that is useful for her needs. May all of us be encouraged to imagine and dream solutions to our challenges and dare implement these solutions? The timeline has also witnessed the launch of IMT2020/ 5G by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. Such developments attest to the importance of our active participation at the World Radio Conference and the need for every one of goodwill to join us in our quest to create a connected Zimbabwe,” Dr. Machengete said.

Zimbabwe successfully filed the second part of Technical papers for a replacement Broadcast Services Satellite in accordance with Resolution 559 of WRC-19. This filing and the subsequent application to WRC-23 to have the new Satellite at 16 degrees West replace the Old satellite at 0.8 degrees West, brings the country closer to restoring its satellite orbital slots to a usable state. The work on Resolution 559 is one of the many Satellite related items that Zimbabwe has been seized with since WRC-19.

“You may be aware of the Starlink Constellation, but there are numerous other Non-Geostationary (NGSO) satellite constellations that are planned or are being launched. Without careful coordination, our planned Geostationary Satellites could soon be rendered inoperable due to interference from the nGSO constellations.

“Not only this but there could also be aspects of exposure to ElectroMagnetic Fields which may not have been well considered. I encourage you as our experts, to carefully consider Agenda Items related to Satellites Services with a view for us to have an advantage.”

The World Radiocommunications Conference of 2023 will take place in Dubai, from the 20th of November to the 15th of December 2023. It will be preceded by the Radiocommunications Assembly which will take place from the 13th to the 17th of November.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the meeting, Eng Matthias Chakanyuka, the Technical Director of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) alluded to the use of set-top boxes by members of the public in order to receive newly licensed broadcasters thereby promoting the maximum use of the television spectrum.

“The set-top boxes are already in the country and will be hitting the market this week. For now, members of the public can access them through licensed broadcasters. The boxes will be showing ZBC TV, ZBC News 24, ZBC Jive TV, ZTN, 3KTV, Keyona TV, and NRTV for now. These services will be available on a free-to-air basis which means no subscription will be required after the purchase of a set-top box,” Eng Chakanyuka said.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende