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BOCRA facilitates the reduction of data prices amidst COVID-19 scourge


In its firm effort to encourage the use of internet in the mist of COVID-19 crisis, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) engaged telecommunications operators on discussions centred on reduction of data prices, a factor that has many on their feet during this predicament.

BOCRA as the regulator and an enabler of market development exists to enable choices to be made by both the market and the consumer, ensuring that there is full and healthy competition in the market. Every year BOCRA reviews prices of the services that they regulate and this year, the focus was centred on mobile data prices.

When addressing members of the media in Gaborone this week, Chief Executive Officer Martin Mokgware said in the advent of COVID-19, affordability of communications services is more critical than ever before, saying people need data to access COVID-19 related information.

‘’COVID-19 virus is relatively new to the entire world and more information needs to be shared. If they do not have access to internet it will be difficult for them to access such information on a number of issues that include how they can protect the deadly virus, would not be able to telework, they would not learn remotely and would not connect to their families and loved ones in the event they are quarantined,’’ he said.

Mokgware further indicated that as BOCRA, they want all citizens to be fully connected so as to be able to use the full potential of digital technologies. ‘’There is a need to address few factors in order to have full connectivity. Lack of relevant content particularly local content is one factor that prevents full connectivity, as well as lack of digital skills to operate these technologies. BOCRA found lack of good quality of internet service provision as a challenge that still surfaces even during this crisis.’’

He however stressed that BOCRA will in September 2020 invite internet service providers to apply for their spectrum that would allow them to invest in and provide fixed wireless technologies.
‘’Our mobile technology in Botswana is universal and we have surpassed the 95 per cent mark.

That means we are doing well in the telecommunications sector, therefore our focus is more on fixed wireless technologies. We will be rolling out this spectrum to our operators in September because we want people to operate from home. They are able to do their work from their comfort zones, and this will enable children to learn from home as well. This is one way in which as BOCRA we strive to help contain the spread of the virus. We encourage our operators to start investing in high quality internet’’

Further, Mokgware told fourth estate that BOCRA managed substantially to reduce mobile data prices across all products and services provided by their operators. For his part, Director of Business Development Noble Katse said some internet packages across all products have been discontinued, saying the newly introduced packages are now competitive. ‘‘Some of our operators dealt away with old packages and introduced new bundles, while for some packages volumes have been kept constant.’’

According to information from the communications regulator, most of the internet packages from all operators realized a significant reduction. Orange Botswana reduced the 1 month All My Internet package of 2 gigabytes by 43 per cent to be P34.50 per gigabyte. The 4 gigabyte data bundle also saw a significant reduction of 55 per cent, which is approximately P24. 75 per gigabyte.

The Orange Prepaid Konnecta saw the introduction of new packages with new prices that vary according to the data bundle purchased. The newly introduced 12.5 gigabyte is priced P199.00, while the 30 gigabyte is sold P349.00. Mascom My Mix prepaid packages also saw a reduction of its 1 month validity data bundles by 22, 27, 32 and 41 per cent for the 32, 2, 4 and 16 gigabyte data bundles respectively. Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) prices did not change as they are already competitive.

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BOCRA Hosts Virtual Workshop on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

3rd June 2021

On 26 – 29 May 2021, BOCRA, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations University, hosted a virtual workshop on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

Bringing together Statistics Botswana, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, the objective of the workshop was to equip Botswana with tools to record incoming electrical and electronic goods to better estimate the quantities of electronic waste that will be produced when these products reach their end-of-life cycle and become e-waste. Botswana, currently, does not have a legislation to address to the issue of e-waste.

Further notes

E-waste is a health and environmental hazard as products containing toxic additives or hazardous substances are mostly dumped or incinerated rather than being collected for treatment and re-use of recoverable substances. This is especially so among most of the developing countries.

E-waste includes discarded household or business items that have electrical and electronic circuitry components with a power or battery supply such as mobile phones, computers, printers, televisions irons, refrigerators, kettles etc.

The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report estimates that 53.6 million metric (Mt) tonnes was generated in 2019, making e-waste the fastest growing domestic waste stream. The report also indicates that only 17.4 percent of the 2019 e-waste was collected and recycled.

The ITU estimates that e-waste quantities have been rising rapidly in the past 5 years due to several factor such as rapid growth of the digital society, higher consumer demand for digital devices, short life cycles and few options for repair.

According to the ITU, e-waste is a challenge and an opportunity. The ITU calls on member states to develop legislations and strong partnerships with industry and businesses to protect human health and the environment from the consequences of inadequate handling of our discarded devices.

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Modipane brickmaker gets boost from PPC Botswana

20th May 2021

Modipane based brickmaking company Katlego Bricks received a brand new stock brick machine and mentorship from leading cement producer PPC Botswana this past Wednesday.

“Community development is important because it provides the foundation a society builds off of to improve the lives of its citizens. It creates strong, diverse communities that can attract and keep talent, start and grow businesses, and overcome issues that arise. Katlego Bricks has been a loyal PPC Cement consumer in the Mmodipane area.

What is more impressive is that this brick yard is led and managed by a lady who understands the craft of brick making so much,” said PPC Botswana Head of Business Unit Tuelo Bolthole.

The arrival of the new brick-making machine is expected to increase productivity at the Modipane based Katlego Bricks which has been using 25 cement bags in a day and will be expected to use at least 40 bags in a day due to the new machine.

During the brick-making machine handover, Katlego Bricks and Modipane residents were also equipped with highly advanced brickmaking skills by PPC Botswana experts. Through this highly advanced mentorship, the trainees are also expected to start producing high-quality and competitive bricks.

“We have brought highly skilled experts that will be drilling you with the latest skills of molding bricks, these are experts that have worked on some of the best projects in Botswana. Remember PPC Botswana cement has also been used to build some of the iconic structures we have in Botswana such as the iTowers, Dikgatlhong dam, and the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. I am giving these examples to show that PPC Botswana does quality work and after this workshop, all the brickmakers involved will be producing high-quality work too,” Botlhole said.

Katlego bricks founder Patricia Katlego Mokgwa was in a jovial mood after receiving the brickmaking machine. She believes that the mentorship and machine will improve the business operations and will improve productivity in her business.

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BOCRA donates COVID19 essentials to Primary schools in Kweneng District

26th April 2021

Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) through its Corporate Social Investment initiative has donated over Five Thousand Eight Hundred (5800) washable, reversible 3-ply face masks and related COVID-19 essentials to Motswakhumo Junior Secondary School in Lentsweletau, Kopong Junior Secondary School and Letsholo Primary schools in Kopong, in the Kweneng district. The respective schools received two (2) face masks for each pupil, teacher and the rest of the staff; 25 litres of sanitiser and dispensers, all at an estimated cost of One Hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand Pula (P189,000).

Ms Tsaone Ruth Thebe, BOCRA Board Chairperson, officiated at each of the handover sessions held at the respective schools. Representing the Mmopane/Lentsweletau Constituency Office was Mr Masego Thantshane, Administration officer. Mr Puso Gaotlhobogwe, District Commissioner (Molaodi) also graced the three occasions.

BOCRA recognises its role as a corporate citizen and believes that the COVID19 pandemic calls for responsive and relevant inputs to the immediate needs of the community.

In receiving the PPEs, school authorities expressed gratitude to BOCRA, noting the dire need for PPEs in their schools. They all echoed that the gesture would go a long way in filing the gaps.

-ENDS  –

For more information, please contact:

Mr Aaron Nyelesi

Director, Broadcasting and Corporate Communications

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