Postal Telecommunications and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) director general, Doctor Gift Machengete has finally spoken on the current data tariffs hike that have been experienced in the country of late.
Speaking at the official launch of the Dendera base station in Zhombe recently, Dr. Machengete fought from the network providers’ corner arguing that Zimbabwe’s data tariffs are quite comparable within the region.
Alluding to the latest statistics from the Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa (CRASA), Dr Machengete said Zimbabwe’s data tariffs are still regarded as cheap, but however, the government sympathies with those who are finding the going tough after the tariffs were increased across all networks.
“According to CRASA 2019 statistics, one Gig of data in Zimbabwe cost US$20. We are only second to South Africa where one Gig of data cost US$11.
“Lesotho is at US$22, Malawi at US$43, Kingdom of Eswathini follows the pack at US$56, Namibia at US$63, Botswana’s cost US$93 and finally Mozambique the same amount of data costs US$130,” he said.
Dr Machengete, however said the government is fully aware that the tariffs have gone beyond the reach of many subscribers.
“As it stands, we appreciate the outcry over the increase in bundled data tariffs as they are now beyond the reach of many and we sympathize with consumers,” added Dr. Machengete.
In his explanation, the POTRAZ boss said it has been long since the regulator allowed network providers to increase tariffs, but they had to be innovative to maintain their clientele base.
“It has been long since we allowed operators to hike tariffs,” Dr. Machengete said.
A closer look revealed that what operators simply did was to play around with their bundles and promotions which people were now used to, but the promotions were below the actual tariffs rate.
Some of the promotions that network providers have been running include the One Fusion which has been running for close to four years now and the clients have been enjoying the service of late. This made the clients to end up thinking that the One fusion were the actual tariff rates, not knowing that it was just a promotion that had a stipulated time of expiry.
The promotions that are rolled out by these network providers are way below the threshold charged by the regulator.”