When State-Owned Telco Is Losing Money, Play The National Security Card

from the so-that's-how-it-works dept

We’ve seen plenty of stories over the years where governments who have state-owned telcos put in place various policies to protect the revenue from those sources at the expense of their citizens. Lately that’s taken the form of blocking VoIP offerings. In Zimbabwe, the government has allowed competition in the mobile phone market, while still owning a mobile carrier itself — but it required all mobile operators to make use of the state-owned international gateway. A Zimbabwe court struck down that rule, allowing the mobile operators to use independent gateways. Of course, rather than complaining about how this will cause more problems for the state-owned (and, of course, money-losing) operator, Zimbabwe is now claiming that using independent gateways is a threat to national security. This fits with a recently proposed law that would allow the government to listen in on calls. Combine all of this and it sounds a lot less like a national security issue, and one where the government wants to be able to spy on its people and protect the monopoly of the state-owned operator who apparently can’t compete with the privately owned competitors.

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