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Zimbabwe: beleaguered telcos push promotions as economic pressure builds

Zimbabwe: beleaguered telcos push promotions as economic pressure builds

Telecel Zimbabwe is to revise its mobile data tariffs as competition intensifies amid growing popularity of promotional offerings by rival operator, NetOne and growth in data income for Econet Wireless.

While many businesses have been forced to increase their prices to absorb the impact of ongoing foreign currency shortages on operational costs, mobile operators have largely resisted the urge to raise tariffs in order to stabilise network usage.

Telcos are pushing promotions to boost usage, specifically in terms of data and voice services.

Currently daily data bundles worth between 250MB and 300MB costs US$1 on mobile networks.

Telecel Zimbabwe branding director Obert Mandimika said, "We are currently working on changes to the popular MegaBonus and Voice Bundles, as well as refining the price for our data bundles to make them more competitive."

Some operators also offer combined bundles ranging between US$3 and US$5 that enable combined access to social media, data and voice calls. These also include heavily discounted same-network voice calls and texts.

"There are other new offers we are working on ... we have already made these changes to our MegaBoost Combo Package which now comes with Facebook benefits," Mandimika added.

Statistics released by the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) last year showed that WhatsApp and Facebook account for the majority of mobile data usage in Zimbabwe.

Data subscribers on Econet surged by 19% to 7.2 million for the year to end February 2018, while income from data was 18% stronger at US$144.8 million for the same period.

In May this year, the Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe chapter said: "the internet is accessible to an estimated 50% of Zimbabweans who, according to statistics, access it mainly on mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets".

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