POTRAZ explains data tariffs increase…..as Parly summons Machengete

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MOBILE network consumers in the country brace for a tougher season as the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) approved a 100% increase in tariffs by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and left the room for further upward reviews in the light of the tough operating environment , Zim Morning Post has learnt.

 Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has been summoned to appear before the Charlton Hwende headed Parliamentary Committee on Information Communication Technology,Postal and Courier services on Monday afternoon to explain the recent increase of bundled data tariffs by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), the Zim Morning Post has learnt.

All the three Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs) increased their bundled data tariffs sparking an outcry from consumers who did not comprehend the dynamics behind the ‘increase’

However, POTRAZ director general made an effort to decipher the mechanisms behind the ‘increase’.

He explained that the MNOs did not violate the tariffs set by the regulatory authority but they merely revised the promotions of bundled data.

In his address at the launch of Dendera Shared Tower site in Midlands over the weekend , Machengete said:

“I would like to make special mention of the Bundled Data services as these have proven to be a favourite among consumers, and clarify a few issues. I am informed that the POTRAZ team, which was with you during the consumer education campaign roadshow earlier this morning gave a clear distinction between bundled and out of bundle services. For those who did not attend that event or those who did not understand the presentation during the roadshow, allow me to explain the concept of bundles once again.  

“In response to the rapid adoption of Over The Top services (OTTs) such as Whatsapp and other data services, mobile operators came up with strategic business models that allow them to salvage some revenue from the consumption of data and internet services by offering bundled products which can be described as promotions.

These promotions saw data being offered at very low costs for popular applications such as Whatsapp and Facebook, hence the term Whatsapp Bundle and Facebook Bundle. Competition for subscribers among the networks kept costs for these bundles low,” he said.

Machengete added that due to increased financial pressure in the economy, operators have been forced to rationalise and review these promotions upwards.

” I am aware that there is an outcry among consumers following this development. However, it is important to note that, after the recent increases, all three networks are offering bundled data of between 2 and 4 RTGS cents per MB, which is below the approved ceiling of 6 RTGS cents Cents per MB that became effective on 1 April 2019. A comparison, in US Dollar terms, of data tariffs with those of fellow SADC countries shows that, contrary to general perception, our tariffs in Zimbabwe are in fact, quite comparable to those in the region,”explained Machengete.

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