Zimbabwe regulator backs tariff rise to help cellcos in struggling economy

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has approved a sharp rise in tariffs for mobile telephony services in the country.

According to a report from Bulawayo24 News, voice tariffs are being hiked by over 180%, from ZWL0.17 per minute to ZWL0.48.

The move is designed to help the three local mobile network operators (MNOs) – Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel – amid an ongoing economic crisis where the value of the local currency has plummeted against the dollar, leading to vastly increased costs for operators who must pay for international bandwidth and network equipment in foreign currency.

Furthermore, the country is suffering chronic power shortages which means cellcos must keep their infrastructure running using expensive diesel-run backup generators.

The report cites an unnamed Zimbabwean telecoms executive as saying: ‘The adjustment in voice tariffs is welcome as it moves MNOs closer to cost effective tariffs and is a direct response to the rise in service delivery costs across the industry. This will go a long way in allowing us to continue to deliver quality service, and for the industry to remain viable.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zimbabwe was home to 12.13 million mobile customers at the end of March 2019.