Recently we reported that the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) had tendered for a national revenue assurance system that would monitor traffic between Zimbabwe’s carriers, plus many increasingly improbable requirements. It seems bidders were not discouraged by POTRAZ’s extensive wishlist; 27 firms have submitted a tender.
The list of bidders includes every kind of business from global RA specialists to local IT chancers. At the top end of the scale, there are bids from WeDo and Neural. Established telecoms players like Ascom and Revector are also bidding for the contract. There are a slew of bids from Chinese firms, including Huawei. The resurrected Connectiva has offered their services, as have Subah Infosolutions, a Ghanaian business. Subah may have an advantage because Ghana’s regulator currently uses Subah to tackle international bypass in their country; the Ghanaian approach may influence POTRAZ. There are also a string of African bidders for the project.
The project involves deploying technology to manage some specific communications risks in Zimbabwe. However, bidders also need to be mindful of the risks to their own business. Over-promising and offering an unrealistic price are always risks when bidding for work from a customer like POTRAZ. And there are other risks too. POTRAZ’s board members – the people appointed to oversee its governance – have all just been sacked by the government. Apparently, they were told to leave, less than a year after their initial appointment, because of ‘rancid’ corruption! In a press announcement, Supa Mandiwanzira, Zimbabwe’s minister for comms, IT and postal services, stated:
It is clear that economic and efficient use of the authority’s financial resources is not being practiced or promoted by the Board.
When reviewing some of the businesses that have tendered for this project, it is clear that many lack experience in the field of revenue assurance. We shall have to see if this matters to POTRAZ. Given the ambition of POTRAZ’s requirements, which covers everything from mobile money to number portability, they may be better off with a supplier that has no preconceptions about how to deliver revenue assurance…