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Zim mobile data prices third highest in Africa

By , ITWeb
Zimbabwe , 30 Sep 2016

Zim mobile data prices third highest in Africa

As the #DataMustFall campaign gains traction in South Africa, data costs in neighbouring Zimbabwe are unlikely to drop - despite the country having the third most expensive mobile data in Africa.

According to a Research ICT Africa report on the state of prepared market - cost of communication, Zimbabwe's cheapest monthly 1GB data package is set at US$30.

The two most expensive monthly bundles in Africa were from South Sudan (US$90.83) and Swaziland (US$30.33) said Chenai Chair Researcher/Communications & Evaluations Officer for Research ICT Africa.

The cheapest 1GB of data is available in Tanzania (US$0.89), Egypt (US$2.82) and Mozambique (US$2.87). At US$5.27 South Africa was placed in 16th position out of the 47 countries recorded.

The report made quarterly comparisons on shifts in prices with the focus on mobile prepaid pricing trends for voice, SMS, and 1GB monthly data.

In August, the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) hiked mobile data prices in a bid to thwart social media activism around the #ThisFlag movement.

The new mobile data prices range from US$.050c for 8MB to US$60 for 2GB - depending on the mobile network.

While Potraz has in the past forced telcos to reduce prices for voice and SMS, the regulator is not expected to revise data prices, considering the macroeconomic conditions that have reduced citizens' disposable incomes, say ICT experts.

John Mokwetsi, Alpha Media Holdings Online Editor, said, "We are not helped by the fact that Potraz does not regulate data prices but voice, so telecommunication companies have to generate revenue using this stream."

Data is cheaper than it was in 2009, Mokwetsi adds, "when 3G was introduced, but we are still to enjoy the usage that other African countries like South Africa enjoys."

ICT expert Admire Mare concurs saying, "Mobile data prices are extremely expensive in Zimbabwe when compared to South Africa. The only respite the people of Zimbabwe (have) is the introduction of data bundles promotions, which unfortunately violate net neutrality principles."

"Because of data bundles promotions we have seen the emergence of social media internet rather than the internet as a full package. It is important that Potraz must reign in on uncompetitive behaviours which have led to high mobile data prices," he adds.

Authorities have warned mobile operators to reduce data prices, or risk this being done on their behalf.

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