MOBILE network operator, NetOne, says it will be intensifying the implementation of its green energy projects to curb operating costs emanating from the use of diesel powered generators as an alternative energy source.
The telecoms company said it’s quest to go green was also in line with the dictates of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 13, which calls for climate action.
Zimbabwe has lately been dogged by extended power outages which have posed challenges to businesses’ operational efficiency and undoubtedly impact the overall quality of service provision.
To compensate for the unplanned and sometimes lengthy power outages, telecommunication firms now resort to alternative sources of energy mainly diesel, which is expensive thus pushing up cost structures.
In that regard, the rising cost of operations drove the industry regulator to allow for tariff increases for both fixed and mobile network operators earlier in the year.
To date, according to NetOne, 25 percent of its sites are now powered by solar and other hybrid solutions.
“We have also gone to use green energy not only for our base stations but for our fleet of cars that we use for operations and services.
“NetOne’s strategy is to go green and curb pollution of the environment. NetOne has procured eight electric vehicles and to date has taken delivery of four of the eight vehicles, “said Raphael Mushanawani, the NetOne chief executive officer.
On the other hand, Susan Mutangadura, NetOne board chairperson, said the company’s intention to adopt renewable energy was being exacerbated by the power challenges experienced in 2022, thus compelling the business to consider alternative sources of power.
She said in the year, reliance was placed on diesel generators with fuel being procured largely in USD to power base stations, growing the firm’s need for foreign currency.
“In order to reduce operating costs and also to protect the environment, NetOne has put in place plans to make use of green energy in powering sites and operations.
“In a quest to fully implement green energy, NetOne is introducing solar-powered base stations around the country in line with the SDG goal that focuses on Climate Action and mitigation,” said Mutangadura.
In his 2022 third quarter sector performance report, to Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Director General, Dr Gift Machengete, said the telecoms industry was now investing greatly in alternative power sources so as to maintain their uptime.
“Prolonged load shedding remains a challenge to operational efficiency, impacting the overall quality of service and raising the cost of service provision,” said Machengete.
According to POTRAZ, the prevailing energy challenges weighed against the telecommunications sector’s performance.
The relentless power outages and increase in fuel prices have seen market players lose revenue in real terms as working capital continues to grow at a rate that exceeds income growth, also leading to reduced network investment.