HARARE – The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has slammed social media reports that Zimbabwe currently has the most expensive mobile data tariffs in the SADC region.
According to statistics provided by the telecoms regulator Zimbabwe is in second place for the cheapest data prices at US$ 20 for 1 GB after South Africa which charges US$ 11 for 1 GB, the most expensive was Mozambique charging US$ 130 for 1 GB.
In a statement yesterday Potraz said Zimbabwe Mobile Network Operators reviewed the out of mobile data tariffs from US$0, 125 per MB to US$ 0, 05 per MB and data tariffs cannot go beyond out of bundle tariffs.
“As background to the data tariffs review, mobile operators reviewed the out of mobile data tariffs from US$ 0, 125 to US$ 0,05 per MB without taxes on 1 July 2018. This tariff translates to US$50 for 1GB of data.
“The out of bundle tariff is the normal cost based tariff are charged when they are not accessing any data bundles. It ought to be underlined that data bundle rates cannot go beyond out of bundle tariffs.
“Furthermore the authority reviewed tariffs in March which sow the out of bundle rate being reviewed to RTGS 0,05 per MB without tax. This translates to RTGS 50 per GB,” said Potraz.
Last month Potraz moved away from a fixed model for determining the various tariffs for telecommunications operators to a flexible model.
The new model is meant to improve sustainability of the local telecoms firms’ businesses by taking into account their need for viability and customers’ need for affordable services.
The tariff model has resulted in tariff adjustments by mobile telecoms operators in line with a general 23 percent increase in the cost of service provision across the telecoms sector.
According to the sector regulator, the new tariff model takes into account the “cost of providing services, market trends, economic fundamentals and affordability”.
This means “that tariffs for telecommunication services have not been aligned to the movement in cost of service provision in 2018 as well as the new exchange rate regime that was pronounced by the new Monetary Policy,” said Potraz.
The new tariffs as a result of the change in pricing model came into effect on April 1, 2019.
Zimbabwe’s three mobile telecoms companies have since announced their new prices for voice tariffs, which are almost at the same level.
Econet Wireless is now charging RTGS$0,2157 per minute, while Telecel is now charging $0,22 per minute and NetOne’s new rates now stand at $0,2199 per minute.
Potraz says it factored in changes in exchange rate, after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe established an inter-bank foreign currency market rate.