The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has embarked on a series of roadshows in the Midlands Province's remote areas as part of its customer awareness programme.
The telecoms regulatory mother body held a consumer awareness roadshow at Donsa shopping centre in Silobela and another one at Joel Shopping centre in Zhombe last week.
Potraz head of consumer affairs and publicity George Manyaya told the Daily News that the purpose of the awareness campaign is part of an ongoing programme to empower consumers with information so that they can be able to utilise services at their disposal.
"One of our key mandates as an organisation is making sure everyone is connected on top of that we want to make sure there is customer protection and that begins with information dissemination and empowerment programmes and as customers, we want them to know that there are services such as the 112 service that they can use in times of distress. This can be dialled when one is sick when calling the police and we urge consumers to utilise such facilities," Manyaya said.
The 112 service is an emergency toll-free number that can be dialled from any mobile network and will direct customers to the required services.
Potraz is currently in the process of establishing shared base stations around the country and has so far set up five base stations out of an expected target of 250.
"We are currently utilising the Universal Services Fund which will see us establishing Communication Information Centres as well as setting up towers that will have network operators sharing infrastructure, especially in areas where operators deemed as not economically viable to build such stations," he said.
This is expected to improve connectivity with the rest of the world for marginalised communities and bridging the digital divide while also providing access to financial services for users through easy access to mobile money facilities.
Manyaya revealed that Potraz has availed 24 satellite phones to the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) for use in the aftermath of the Cyclone Idai disaster that hit the country last week to ensure affected areas remain connected during rescue efforts after the cyclone destroyed some of the communication infrastructure in Chimanimani and Chipinge.
"We have distributed about 24 satellite phones to the CPU for use during disaster preparedness and times of disaster. These phones were sourced from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)," Manyaya said.
"On top of this, we have also sourced airtime to use for ease of communication in the efforts currently underway in Manicaland."
The telecoms regulatory authority also donated RTGS$200 000 towards the same cause and joins a long list of cooperates who have joined forces to help the government to deal with the crisis.