AMH is an independent media house free from political ties or outside influence. We have four newspapers: The Zimbabwe Independent, a business weekly published every Friday, The Standard, a weekly published every Sunday, and Southern and NewsDay, our daily newspapers. Each has an online edition.

The beauty of competition

In May, Mnangagwa said Starlink would partner Wicknell Chivayo’s IMC Communication, bringing to end the long wait by consumers for cheaper internet service.

BEST-SELLING author Nancy Pearcy says competition is always a good thing.

“It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity,” she said.

Of late, there has been a flurry of activity at telecom firms following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s announcement that American internet service company, Starlink, has been licensed to operate in Zimbabwe.

In May, Mnangagwa said Starlink would partner Wicknell Chivayo’s IMC Communication, bringing to end the long wait by consumers for cheaper internet service.

The licensing of Starlink, a low-earth orbit satellite operator wholly owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, was largely expected after the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) said it had received an application from Starlink to operate in Zimbabwe.

Local operators have also upped their game as they gird their loins for tough competition.

Last week, State-owned telecoms firm, TelOne, said it had partnered Britain-based global low earth orbit satellite communications network firm, Eutelsat OneWeb, to resell its service in Zimbabwe.

“Technology is here to stay and with the coming in of low-earth orbit in the country [Starlink], affordability of the internet is what we will want to look at,” TelOne chief executive officer Lawrence Nkala told journalists, following the firm’s annual general meeting last Friday.

He said TelOne would introduce flexible pricing models to remain competitive and offer discounts if the need arose in order to be on top of the game.

Liquid Telecoms has rolled out a US$ bundle promotion which gives huge discounts for wibronix and fibronix subscribers.

The promotion runs until October 1.

What is clear is that the biggest winner in this competition will be the subscriber who has been getting a raw deal over the years, paying for an expensive but slow service.

For years, Zimbabwe has been ranked as having some of the most expensive internet and data charges on the continent and globally, with consumers not being able to afford, although the regulator disputed most of the findings.

Previous campaigns such as #DataMustFall have fallen on deaf ears with players citing high operational costs such as investment in alternative sources of power due to power outages, for example.

Potraz has, in the past, stoked the flames saying data charges levied by mobile network operators are cheaper than those prevailing in the region.

We foresee players fighting for the heart and soul of the consumer, who for years has been getting the short end of the stick.

There is no doubt the entry of serious players in the arena will make data affordable.

There is an appetite for data on the market, according to the latest statistics from Potraz.

As of the end of the first quarter, mobile internet or data traffic had grown by 24,9% to 58,44 petabytes from 46,79 petabytes, according to Potraz.

The regulator noted in its first quarter report that ICT applications such as Netflix, YouTube and other social media platforms, drove local data usage.


Related Topics