Technomag reports that Zimbabwean mobile network operators will soon have to switch off base stations` as they face huge operational bills due to power outages.

Under the current ZETDC schedule of power rationing, mobile network operators experience blackouts for up to 15 hours a day.

Experts in the sector have bemoaned the costs of maintaining the networks in the dark hours with heavy demand for diesel to run base stations, pushing the average costs in this long winter:

It does not also make any business sense to continuously run diesel based base stations for a community that is highly likely to be disconnected and powered off, meaning these same hours would soon not warranty such support as there is low user uptake

More technical support is now needed to run and maintain the network base stations with downtime in the dark and overtime on outage based maintenance, the operation costs are skyrocketing,

Beside all the challenges network uptime by all the mobile service operators has remained above 90%, while maintaining service provision in such times comes at a much higher cost, but the mobile service providers fear that they won’t be able to maintain this uptime for longer, one of the experts who spoke to technomag said.

Due to the incessant power cuts, normal mobile usage has drastically dropped as most subscribers are switched off, or at most keep their mobile phones only for urgent call and data services as they try to save battery power for the night.

The Average Revenue Per User ARPU has drastically dropped as well, the cost of living is biting subscribers, shifting connectivity essence to luxury, while it has always been a basic necessity.

Zimbabwe has three GSM mobile network operators, namely Econet, Net One and Telecel.