THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has directed all telecommunications service providers to slash charges for mobile cellular voice calls with effect from today.
Potraz acting Director General Baxton Sirewu said the current intervention was necessitated by results of recently concluded cost studies which indicated that the current tariffs no longer reflected the cost of providing the services.
“Our objective is to secure fair prices for the end user and sustainable returns for the service providers. At the end of it all, regulation is about achieving efficient markets where services are affordable, accessible and widely available,” Sirewu said.
“One of the key functions of Potraz is to monitor tariffs charged by telecommunication and postal operators with a view to protect consumers and to ensure business sustainability. Economic regulation of the Telecommunication sector, in particular the protection of consumers and citizens against excessive prices and poor quality of service, is a fundamental mandate of the Regulator.”
He said accordingly as networks and markets evolve, Potraz keeps monitoring variables within the value chain including, inter-alia the cost of providing services, prices obtaining in
the market and the quality of services being provided with
a view to intervene when the need arises.
“Potraz would like to inform the public that with effect from January 1 2015, charges for mobile cellular voice calls including VAT and exercise duty should not exceed the following maximum thresholds,” he said.
Sirewu said effective from today, mobile net-on-net calls per minute would be $0,15 down from $0,23, national calls to mobile network will be $0,16 from $0,25, national calls to fixed and VOiP networks to $0,16 from $0,21, Net on Net to Net SMS will be $0,05 from $0,9 and cross network SMS will be $0,05 from $0,09, while charges for the rest of other chargeable services would be as advertised.
He said telecommunication operators who failed to honour this obligation would be penalised and risk suspension of the concerned licence.
“Refusal or failure to implement the determination constitutes a material breach of the concerned operator’s licence. Consequently, such an action or omission warrants a penalty in terms of the Postal and Telecommunications Penalties Regulations, 2008 and may result in suspension or revocation of the concerned licence,” he said.