By Lungelo Nkambule | 2017-12-08
“It is unfair to allow mobile companies to add fixed wireless landlines to their products while the fixed landline providers are not allowed to venture into mobile.”
This was a cry from Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) Managing Director Petros Dlamini to the Prime Minister Dr Sibusiso Dlamini yesterday.
He lamented the current state of affairs where mobile phones operators were granted licences to add fixed wireless phones to their products.
Speaking yesterday during the e-Government SiSwati Name Competition Launch sponsored by SPTC, the MD said as long as the JVA was still in existence the regulator must see to it that the field was level for all players.
“At the moment while the JVA is in place it would be unfair to allow the mobile players to venture into fixed line while the fixed player cannot venture into mobile,” he said.
Dlamini said not only was this unfair to the parastatal but destroying the company as the other players were now at an advantage trading both as mobile and fixed players while SPTC was not allowed to add mobile phone products to their services.
“We would like to encourage the regulator to monitor and ensure that the playing field is level during the transition period,” he said.
Dlamini said there was need for engagement and consultation so that all players are looked out for because at the current moment it seemed like the regulator was looking out for all other players but SPTC. The MD’s remarks come a week after the new player in the telecommunications sphere Swazi Mobile launched its fixed wireless landline services. Swazi Mobile is a mobile company but the licence granted by the regulator allows the company to have fixed wireless landline products.
Both mobile networks are licenced to provide fixed landlines services while SPTC a fixed landline provider is not allowed to add mobile phones to its products. In 2012 SPTC was challenged by MTN when it launched a rival mobile network under the brand name ONE, saying SPTC held a stake in MTN Swaziland and had signed an agreement not to launch mobile services in competition with MTN. SPTC was ordered by the International Court of arbitration in Geneva to cease offering mobile services.
Reached for comment, Swazi Mobile Acting Chief Executive Officer Wandile Mtshali who was also at the launch said they would continue to sell and market their fixed wireless landlines.
“We will continue to promote and sell our fixed wireless landlines. Our licence allows us to offer this service,” he said.
MTN Corporate Affairs Manager Mandla Luphondvo refused to comment on the matter citing that SPTC was an MTN shareholder.
“It would be difficult to make a comment because this is a shareholder issue,” he said.
Coin e-Government name, slogan and win E50 000
Prime Minister Dr Sibusiso Dlamini yesterday launched the e-Government Name and Slogan competition.
Winners of the competition are set to go home with E50 000 cash prizes courtesy of Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications (SPTC).
Making his remarks the Premier said the competition came at a time when the country was on a mission to encourage the speaking of SiSwati after observing that the young generation was losing the language.
“This competition comes at an opportune time when government is in a quest to encourage the younger generation to speak their mother tongue.
“This is why there must be SiSwati entrance tests to primary, high school and scholarship interviews. It is important that we nurture and preserve the language by making sure that our children from as early as kindergarten can articulate themselves in their mother tongue,” he said.
The premier said he was therefore pleased that there was a competition looking for a SiSwati name for e-government.
The premier added that while this exercise was in accordance with what government had started, the completion would also help in raising the profile of the e-Government service.
“The nature of the e-Government has to be understood by all and a valuable technique for achieving that is to have an easily recognisable and comprehensible SiSwati name and slogan or catch phrase. This is very much in harmony with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For here we will have every segment of society able to appreciate the messages promoting e-Government services that are accessible and affordable to all and which contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of our country,” he said.
“Everyone loves competition, especially where there are prizes to be won and it is excellent technique for raising the profile of the e-Government service. The winner of the name category will be awarded E20 000 and the slogan category no less than E30 000,” he said.
To enter the competition, you can download entries from the Government website or through newspaper cut-outs which will be published in local newspapers.
Siswati Academy on the cards
In a quest to preserve the SiSwati language government must budget for a SiSwati Academy.
The SiSwati Board Chairman Sibusiso Mkhonta has advocated for the establishment of a SiSwati academy that will have fulltime employees because there was so much that still needed to be done in the efforts to preserve and protect the SiSwati language.
Speaking during the e-Government Siswati name and slogan competition said while they were excited about competition because it prompted people to dig deep into their Siswati vocabulary there was still so much that needed to be done.
Mkhonta said there was still need to translate many words and books into SiSwati so that the language is not lost. “We realise that there is need to preserve and cultivate the language hence the academy is necessary.
“While the board is very committed to the work given to them by the Prime minister, there is a big need for an academy which will have full time employees that will look into the SiSwati language from its preservation down right to encouraging people to speak the language and take pride in speaking it,” he said.
He also pointed out that what the board was doing was in line with UNESCO objectives to preserve the mother tongue.
“Countries are working around the clock to have everything documented in their mother language and we are also on course to do that,” he said.
Mkhonta thanked government and SPTC for the competition stating that it would encourage people to speak the language.
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