Mobile telcos in bundle price review

Potraz Director General Dr Gift Machengete

Zimbabwe’s telecommunications companies have reviewed their bundle prices, both in domestic (ZWL$) and United States dollars (US$), to align with rising operating costs.

This comes two weeks after the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory of Zimbabwe (Potraz) approved a headline tariff adjustment effective 1 November 2022. The telecoms sector has struggled to upgrade infrastructure and provide quality service in the last three years due to sub-optimal tariffs, high operational costs, intermittent power outages and rising vandalism of telco equipment, among other things.

To offset rising operational costs, which grew by 44.9% in the second quarter of 2022 to ZW$24.6 billion, from ZW$17 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2022, the regulator approved a 180% tariff increase back in July, that was to be implemented in three phases of 60% in July, September and November.

State-owned mobile network operator NetOne said it increased its tariffs on Sunday while Econet Wireless announced that it would review its tariffs on Wednesday.

“Dear valued customer, please be advised that NetOne will be adjusting voice, data and SMS bundles tariffs with effect from the 13th of November 2022,” the company said in a notice to customers.

“Dear valued customer, please take note of our new ZWL & USD Voice, SMS & Data bundle prices effective Wednesday 16 November 2022,” Econet said in a notice to the public.

Telecel, the third mobile operator, is expected to follow-suit soon.

The average ZWL bundle price is increase is understood to be about 60% across the networks, while the average USD price increase is a understood to be around 15%.

The latest tariff increase comes after Potraz Director General Dr Gift Machengete recently indicated that the capital-intensive telecoms industry requires foreign currency to constantly upgrade network infrastructure.

“Enhanced growth can be achieved through government intervention and innovative public-private partnerships aimed at improving the digital landscape by assuring access, equity, and affordability of telecommunication services to all,” he said in the latest telecommunications sector report.

“Particular attention needs to be paid to rural areas where broadband coverage of technologies such as LTE is still sparse. Operators also need to innovate and explore sustainable revenue generation and cost containment avenues considering the current economic climate,” added Dr Machengete.


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