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Zimbabwe cuts mobile data tariffs

By , Journalist
Zimbabwe , 20 Jun 2018

Zimbabwe cuts mobile data tariffs

Zimbabwe has cut mobile data tariffs from 12.5 cents to 5 cents per megabyte, with effect from the beginning of July, the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) said Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by the regulator, "The out of bundle mobile data charges threshold shall be reduced from the current average rate of 12.5 cents per Megabyte to 5 cents per Megabyte exclusive of all taxes."

The announcement follows the conclusion of a national cost modelling exercise for telecom companies carried out by Detecon in 2017.

Potraz said this exercise was aimed at updating the Long Run Incremental Costing (LRIC) model implemented in 2014 to factor in "changing consumer behaviour which is moving from being voice-centric to being data-centric", as well as technological advancements.

The regulator stressed that the new data tariffs apply exclusively to "internet/data that is used outside the WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter bundles," among others.

Zimbabwean telcos have initiated promotions to encourage greater usage of their data platforms.

Under heavily discounted daily data bundles, 250MB costs approximately US$1, while Telecel Zimbabwe has innovated to offer hourly data bundles.

The Zimbabwean regulator has also reduced USSD charges for e-payments, saying thresholds have been lowered from the current 12.5 cents per session to 5 cents per session exclusive of taxes.

"This is meant to address the high transaction cost of e-payments and increase financial inclusion. To ensure that this reduction benefits the transacting public, the Authority has engaged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) who will engage financial service providers so that the reduction is passed on to the transacting public."

While mobile voice and SMS tariffs remain unchanged, they could be reviewed at a later stage, according to the Authority, which also stipulated that fixed voice charges "shall be left to market forces subject to regulatory" approval.

Data charges for ISPs in Zimbabwe have also been left unchanged.

State-owned TelOne is the only fixed phone operator in Zimbabwe, and has now been put up for partial privatisation.

The country has three mobile operators - NetOne, Telecel Zimbabwe (both state-controlled) and Econet Wireless.

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