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Embattled Zimbabwe telcos increase tariffs

Embattled Zimbabwe telcos increase tariffs

Mobile voice call and data tariffs have increased in Zimbabwe after the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) gave the go-ahead for operators to adjust rates.

The country continues to battle price increases as businesses grapple with fluctuation in exchange rates between the local dollar currency and the US dollar.

Fuel prices have also shot up exerting further pressure on telecommunications companies that need to power base stations using diesel generators amid electricity outages.

Diesel has increased by approximately 12% after the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority set the price at ZWL17.47 per litre.

Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe have already adjusted their tariffs, with data rates increased to ZWL0.19 cents per megabyte.

Cross network calls on the Telecel Zimbabwe network now cost ZWL0.96 cents per minute while Econet charges ZWL0.93 per minute.

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

The Zimbabwe dollar was trading at around 1:15 to the US Dollar on the official interbank market on Wednesday, while on the streets it traded at 1:20.

Potraz justified the tariff adjustments saying the previous tariff schedule was no longer valid owing to continued cost escalations for operators.

"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," the regulator stated.

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

Local economists believe the increases will translate to higher inflation in Zimbabwe as the country prepares to introduce new bank notes under the Zim dollar currency

Mobile money is also under pressure as traders implement a multi-tier pricing mechanism whereby settlement of transactions using mobile money attracts a premium.

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