State-owned mobile telecommunications operator, NetOne’s recent decision to cut its OneFusion data offering by 83 percent could have an adverse effect on its revenues amid criticism that the bundles are now expensive.
According to the new package offering released by the MNO on Wednesday if one subscribes for the Lite package they are now getting 15 on-net minutes, 5 Off-Net minutes, 180 MB data bundles, 90MB Whatsapp bundles and 5 SMSs.
Prior to the latest changes, a OneFusion Lite promotional package which costs RTGS$10 would offer 130 On-net Minutes, 25 Off-Net minutes, 1,1 GB of data, 100 SMSs and 450 MB of Whatsapp.
NetOne’s subscribers are, however, not amused by the new changes, taking to social media platforms such as Twitter to express their anger with others threatening to move away from the service provider.
“Daily bundle from 250-42MB? We switch back to other less liked MNO . . . This is absurd,” said Tarisayi Allen on the company’s tweeter handle.
In emailed responses NetOne chief executive officer Lazarus Muchenje said the adjustment was in line with the rising cost of doing business being experienced in the country and that the company was not doing away with the promotion but was just remodelling it to suit operational costs.
“The cost of doing business in Zimbabwe has risen sharply over the recent past. For us to continue providing quality products and services, we needed to adjust our packages as a commercial enterprise. This is not only unique to us as you shall see other industry players following suit.
“We have redefined OneFusion to make it a more competitive product. In this we have kept the customer in mind as it remains the best bundle offer in the market,” said Muchenje.
Changes made to the OneFusion bundle comes at a time telecoms regulator the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has had to defend tariffs prevailing in the country.
Earlier this week, Potraz slammed social media reports that Zimbabwe currently has the most expensive mobile data tariffs in the SADC region.
Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete said the article on Zimbabwean data tariffs was misleading.
“The authority would like to put it on record that it is a misrepresentation of the Zimbabwe situation even during the period it was published, and as such, it should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
“The authority would therefore like to put it on record that the mobile data tariffs in Zimbabwe are comparable to those obtaining in other Sadc countries. As can be observed, the current price of 1GB of mobile data for Zimbabwe is among the lowest in the region, in United States dollar terms,” Dr Machengete said.
Statistics from (Potraz) show that Zimbabwean mobile network operators (MNOs) reviewed the out of bundle mobile data tariffs to US$0,05 cents per MB from US$0,125, excluding taxes on July 1, 2018.
The reviewed 2018 tariff translates to about US$50 for 1GB of data.
Dr Machengete said the out of bundle tariff was the normal cost based tariff that subscribers are charged when they are not accessing any data bundles.
Therefore, Dr Machengete said it was imperative to note that data bundle rates cannot go beyond the out of bundle tariffs.
In March this year, Potraz reviewed tariffs resulting in the out of bundle rate being pegged at RTGS$0,05 per MB, without taxes.
Potraz has no power to block telecoms from reviewing their promotions, as long as the rates are within the regulatory 5c data tariff.
Issues of data tariff increase have also sparked a lot of attention in South Africa after the country’s Completion Commission accused the country’s two largest telecoms operators for unjustly pricing data and recommended immediate relief for customers.