Zimbabweans will soon have mobile broadband relief as the rates are going to be heavily slashed from the current exorbitant rates which were pitting the nation among most highly charged.
Speaking during an exclusive Youtube video interview with TechnoMag ICT, Postal and Courier services minister Supa Mandiwanzira said broadband access for all will soon be a reality as he wants to see mobile network operators (MNOs) slash their data tariffs.
The minister said it was rather disturbing that only voice tariffs were reduced, a move which he said the authorities used to hoodwink people into focusing on just that when the reality was voice revenue streams had already dwindled.
“I actually think it was problematic for the industry to work on a framework for voice with Potraz, which is a dying revenue maker for the nation, businesses do not use much voice these days, and I think that the regulator was hoodwinked by the networks not to focus on data but voice. This is where we need to make an impact.”
The minister said that as government, they will be revisiting the pricing framework with the regulator to make sure that both business and the consumers enjoy access to data at a reasonable price.
“The whole idea around reducing costs is a government initiative to make sure that it must be easy for business to operate, data is where we need to make an impact, not voice.”
In Zimbabwe mobile network operators for a long time, have heavily charged data access with Econet and Telecel offering only 10mb for a dollar, except NetOne which is giving almost two times what other networks give at 17mb for a dollar.
The minister said that data is the future and if the sector is not regulated, communication will be hindered, pausing a threat to the growth of ICTs as access to information is a major drive contributing towards the national GDP.
Today in Zimbabwe, we have seen a major upsurge in data service with more than 35% data penetration, a figure which rose sharply in not more than five years from a single digit, ranking Zimbabwe amongst the top three fastest developing ICT countries in the world.
The same sharp increase has been felt on the General System Mobile (GSM) voice with a current voice penetration of 106% although only 60% is confirmed to be active users. This proves that demand for mobile connectivity is on a sharp rise in Zimbabwe.
TechnoMag is Zimbabwe’s Premier Technology Magazine, More In depth from www.technomag.co.zw on http://technom.ag/eG