MOBILE phone subscribers have criticised the country’s telecommunications regulator for ordering Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to revert to old tariffs barely a week after the operator had slashed the rates by up to 60%.
REPORT BY ACTING BUSINESS EDITOR
Readers yesterday reacted angrily to an order by the Postal and Telecommunications’ Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to Econet to reverse its tariffs’ slash.
Potraz ordered Econet Wireless to stop offering its customers the 10 cent-per-minute tariff and revert to the old 25 cents charge.
The telecoms regulator defended its position, saying the directive was in line with telecoms regulations.
“Tariffs charged by operators are regulated in terms of Section 100 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act, Chapter 12:05. As such, any increase or decrease in tariffs has to be approved by the authority in order to safeguard consumers as well as promote fair competition,” said Potraz.
Most readers who commented on NewsDay social platforms described Potraz’s move as unfair.
“This has just exposed Potraz’s double standards. Netone and Telecel customers are phoning for free and when Econet gives us the same, they start to take sides.
People are virtually phoning for next to nothing on these two networks. Potraz should be fair. Stop rigging please,” said one reader using the pseudonym Hacha Ndizvo.
“These competitions only show that the correct tariffs for a call is 10 cents per minute and the telephone companies have been creaming us big time. While they are at it they should also reduce interconnection fees to two cents.”
Another reader said: “Where was Potraz when Telecel was doing the same and is still doing the same? Someone, tell me when 50 cents equals 90 minutes, what percentage is that? Hypocrisy at its worst or its best.
“So Potraz says you can’t offer a 60% price reduction yet we have had 99% off calls and 100% extra credit and what not… What a joke! And is there a legislative provision embodying this position?”
Some readers, however, said the decision by Potraz would protect smaller players from Econet’s dominance.