Zol Zimbabwe has dampened consumer excitement that followed the 60 percent reduction in mobile data costs by Government from about 12,5 cents per megabyte to 5 cents per megabyte, exclusive of all taxes.
The new tariff applies to Internet or data used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles.
Government also reduced the USSD charges threshold from the obtaining 12,5 cents per session to 5 cents per session.
The new tariffs are effective July 1, 2018.
However, ZOL sent communication to its customers on Wednesday announcing an average 5 percent increase in data charges.
ZOL attributed the proposed increase, which is effective August 1, 2018, to the 5 percent special excise duty specified as a Health Fund Levy.
The Health Levy Fund — which is contained in the Finance Act (No.2) 2017, Section 312 (49) — resulted in an increase on excise duty to 10 percent for airtime and data services.
The ZOL notice to consumers said: “As ZOL Zimbabwe, we have delayed passing this charge to you, our customers; since March 2017 when it was announced. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to disregard the effects of this excise duty on our overall service delivery making it necessary for us to adjust our prices accordingly.”
“In this regard, ZOL Zimbabwe has revised pricing of all residential and business fibroniks packages by an average of 5 percent effective 1 August 2018.”
Other telecommunications companies effected the charges immediately after they were introduced in March last year.
The firm said the price adjustment is consistent with its continued efforts to improve the quality of its network and the network experience for customers.
The tariff revision will see Fibroniks Lite, which is currently pegged at $29 per month for 25 gigabytes, rising to $32 while the Basic Essentials package will surge to $42 for 35GB from the obtaining $39.
The Family Essentials is currently $89 and from August 1, it will rise to $95 for 75GB.
Some of ZOL’s customers on the Fibroniks Lite package immediately expressed outrage over the tariffs saying they were unfair as they come at a time everyone was celebrating the reduction of mobile data tariffs.
“The tariff increase announced by ZOL is unfortunate as it flies in the face of Government efforts to reduce costs,” said Melusi Simbi, of Harare.
On its Twitter handle, ZOL indicated that it would be taking questions on the price adjustment at 1pm today on Facebook Live.
One of the respondents said: ZOL data pricing review would be most welcome. More data to the people”.
The post implies that consumers would require more data for less.
An official with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), who spoke on condition of anonymity said Internet Access Providers (IAPs) “are already operating below cost due to the nature of competition” in their sector.
The official said; “tell them to reduce the tariffs would kill the industry”.
A statement released by Potraz on Wednesday, said Internet or data charges for IAPs would be left to market forces, subject to regulatory approval.
ZOL and TelOne have been locked in fierce competition for consumers resulting in tariffs being reduced to below the cost.
The firms have previously traded barbs in their adverts, primarily accusing each other of either offering slow or expensive services.