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.
In a communique issued by Potraz director Gift Machengete Thursday evening, the authority advised MNOs about the revised tariff thresholds triggered by the inflationary pressures currently bedevilling the economy .
According to Potraz the development is inevitably inspired by Telecommunications Price Index (TPI) which was reached after consultations with all licensed MNOs operating in the country.
Zim Morning Post understands that the MNOs are pushing for a further increase commensurate with the capital injection they commit in the current operational environment which they deem unfavourable.
“We pay for international bandwidth in forex and it is an open secret that such is a scarce commodity so we are pushing for more otherwise we will retrench employees or close shop,” revealed a senior manager with a leading MNO.
In April this year , all MNOs submitted a proposal of at least 300% increase to Potraz citing the introduction of the interbank rate among a slew of impediments to normal operations.
Potraz did not approve the proposal but finally did on Thursday after dissecting the affordability and viability element for the telecommunications operators.
Last week, Potraz reached out to Zesa lamenting over the effect of load shedding on MNOs who were running base station on diesel powered generators.
Netone made an official announcement of an upward review of its tariffs on Thursday while others are expected to naturally follow suit to avoid folding.
With Potraz’s consent, MNOs are now charging 49cents per minute a sharp rise from 17 cents per minute, consequently, they have dumped the Long-Run Average Incremental Cost (LRIC) model billing preferring the Total Pricing Index (TPI).
However, this is likely to see some MNOs scrapping or reducing the benefits of some existing promotions and Value Added Services(VAS) as it has become a dog eat dog situation for survival and profitability.