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Zimbabwe’s Econet Wireless hikes tariffs

By , Zimbabwe correspondent
Zimbabwe , 11 Dec 2020

Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network service provider Econet Wireless has hiked its voice, data and SMS bundle prices by an average of 20%, effective from 10 December 2020 - this as the Zimbabwe dollar continues to nose-dive against major currencies.

Econet has reviewed its bundle of joy voice bundles to ZWL$4,24 per two minutes from ZWL$4,04, while the price of a 20MB daily data bundle has increased to ZWL$17, up from ZWL$13.

A monthly 100MB data bundle has increased to ZWL$84 from ZWL$67, while the 8GB private Wi-Fi bundle has increased to ZWL$1 500 from ZWL$960.

Meanwhile, subscribers have to fork out ZWL$0,36 to send an SMS, up from ZWL$0,32.

The company said the latest adjustments are in response to inflation, local currency devaluation and increasing network input costs.

Zimbabwe’s inflation rate eased somewhat to 401.66% in November year-on-year from 471.25% the previous month, according to statistical agency Zimstats.

Econet added: “The business continuously reviews its pricing in line with changes in the operating environment to ensure it remains viable, while retaining good quality of service and offering affordable products.”

Earlier in the year, Gift Machengete, Director General of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), told parliament the country’s data tariffs were lagging behind regional countries.

“As Potraz we have also considered the costs of the operator first so that they keep on running and after that we have been tracking the cost of data before we come up with the tariffs. We do not just put up tariffs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Econet has written to Potraz to allow it to charge its client in US dollars, as the local currency continues to rapidly lose value. And the pandemic has only boosted demand for US dollars.

Last month, the country’s central bank lifted restrictions on US dollars in local transactions to make “it easier for the transacting public to conduct business during this difficult period.”

According to mobile data pricing figures released in May 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa has just one country among the top ten cheapest in the world – Somalia. Its price at US$30.50 places the country in seventh position overall.

Africa is also home to five out of the ten most expensive countries, with St Helena the most expensive in the world (US$ 52.50), joined by São Tomé and Príncipe (US$ 28.26), Malawi (US$ 27.41), Benin (US$ 27.22) and Chad (US$ 23.33).

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