Zimbabwe telecos look to raise tariffs again

Zimbabwe telecos look to raise tariffs again

Firms in negotiation with industry regulator to agree on third increase.

Embattled Zimbabwe telecommunication firms are in talks with the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), for a possible third increase in service tariffs.

Mobile operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe said this is because of the current prevailing economic environment.

The company added that the environment is undermining the national telecom sector at various levels, not just among consumers.

It said multiple power cuts that force businesses to invest in generators amid rising fuel costs, have pushed up operating costs.

Econet released a statement, which reads in part: "The company, together with the other industry players, continues to engage with Potraz in an effort to go back to a tariff regime that will ensure continued viability of the sector as well as ensure that quality of service standards are maintained."

The telecom sector has already implemented two tariff adjustments: the first price increase (+23%) was enforced in April 2019 and the second (+95.39%) in October the same year.

Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe have already adjusted their tariffs, with data priced at ZWL0.19 cents per megabyte.

Cross network calls on Telecel Zimbabwe's network now costs ZWL0.96 cents per minute, while Econet charges ZWL0.93 per minute.

NetOne has also adjusted its tariffs for voice and data by similar margins.

The Zimbabwe dollar was trading at around 1:17.22 to the US Dollar on the official interbank market this week, while on the streets it traded at 1:26.

Last year, Potraz justified the tariff adjustments saying the previous tariff schedule was no longer valid owing to continued cost escalations for operators.

The regulator said: "The authority has found it necessary to review tariff thresholds for telecommunication services by 95,39 percent based on the Telecommunication Price Index (TPI) that was computed in consultation with all operators."

It added, "mobile operators may adjust their tariffs in line with approved thresholds."